Feathered Bastard

Spineless! Governor Janet Napolitano wussies out on employer sanction bill for lack of political cover.

Ready and waiting for Russell Pearce to mount...

Surprise, surprise. Lacking the political cover of a successful U.S. Senate immigration reform package, AZ's spineless chief executive yesterday signed into law a seriously flawed Russell Pearce piece of legislation, the sole intent of which is to discriminate against those with brown skin.

Beginning in 2008, employers will face the ultimate loss of their business licenses if they knowingly hire illegal immigrants. To keep from "knowingly" hiring illegals, businesses are supposed to use the federal Basic Pilot Program database to determine if a prospective employee is illegal. Thing is, even the GAO (Government Accountability Office), the investigative arm of Congress, admits that the BPP contains outdated and inaccurate information.

And that's not the only problem with this Pearce-puke bill. As Nappy's news release on the signing indicates, there's a buttload of problems with the new legislation, including: • The bill should protect critical infrastructure. Hospitals, nursing homes and power plants could be shut down for days because of a single wrongful employment decision. • The revocation provision is overbroad, and could cause a business with multiple locations to face shutdown of its entire operation based on an infraction that occurred at only one location. • The bill is underfunded. Even though the Attorney General’s office must establish an entirely new database and must investigate complaints statewide, only $100,000 is appropriated for that purpose. Only $70,000 is appropriated to notify employers of the change in the law. • There is no expressed provision protecting Arizona citizens or legal residents from discrimination under the terms of this bill. • There is even a typo that has to be fixed. The bill cites the wrong portion of a federal law.

This should have been enough for "Manet" to veto the friggin' thing. But Manet ain't no profile in courage, folks. She's a profile in political cowardice. She doesn't even have the balls (literally or figuratively) to call a special session of the legislature to fix the flaws in the new legislation. Instead, her press release timidly peeps, "The Governor is willing to call for a special session to occur sometime this fall, but will not set the specific date until she has had the opportunity to consult with legislative leaders." In other words, she won't do diddly until she gets assholes like Pearce & Co. to sign off on it.

Last week, before the U.S. Senate compromise was scuttled by a small, rabid lynch mob of anti-immigrant racists, Napolitano announced mysteriously that she'd made up her mind what she was going to do with the employer sanction bill on her desk. Though she didn't say as much, she was basically waiting for the U.S. Senate to give her the political cover to veto it. Lacking that cover, she bent over for state Rep. Russell Pearce like a $10 Van Buren crack whore jonesing for a rock.

Pearce's law is part of a broad effort by extremists to pass punitive legislation against undocumented workers in order to have them "self-deport" back to Mexico. Instead, Pearce's playbook will cause misery and inflame emotions that could tip over to serious civil unrest. Of course, that may be the ultimate goal here: a white-on-brown race war with a Turner Diaries-style day of the rope. The ugliness has just begun.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons