PHOENIX – Gov. Jan Brewer said Friday that most illegal immigrants entering Arizona are being used to transport drugs across the border, an assertion that critics painted as exaggerated and racist.
Brewer said the motivation of "a lot" of the illegal immigrants is to enter the United States to look for work, but that drug rings press them into duty as drug "mules."
"I believe today, under the circumstances that we're facing, that the majority of the illegal trespassers that are coming into the state of Arizona are under the direction and control of organized drug cartels and they are bringing drugs in," Brewer said.
"There's strong information to us that they come as illegal people wanting to come to work. Then they are accosted and they become subjects of the drug cartel," she said.
Brewer's office said it was preparing a statement in response to a request by The Associated Press for any statistics or other information supporting her assertion.
"Unless Gov. Brewer can provide hard data to substantiate her claim that most undocumented people crossing into Arizona are 'drug mules,' she must retract such an outrageous statement," said Oscar Martinez, a University of Arizona history professor whose teaching and research focuses on border issues. "If she has no data and is just mouthing off for political reasons, as I believe she is doing, then she must apologize to the people of Arizona for lying to them so blatantly."
Sen. Jesus Ramon Valdes, a member of the Mexican Senate's northern border affairs commission, called Brewer's comments racist and irresponsible.
"Traditionally, migrants have always been needy, humble people who in good faith go looking for a way to better the lives of their families," Ramon Valdes said.
A Border Patrol spokesman said illegal immigrants do sometimes carry drugs across the border, but he said he couldn't provide numbers because the smugglers are turned over to prosecutors.
"I wouldn't say that every person that is apprehended is being used as a mule," spokesman Mario Escalante said from Tucson. "The smuggling organizations, in their attempts to be lucrative and to make more money, they'll try pretty much whatever they need."
T.J. Bonner, president of the union that represents border agents, said some illegal border-crossers carry drugs but most don't. People with drugs face much stiffer penalties for entering the U.S. illegally, and very few immigrants looking for work want to risk the consequences, Bonner said.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I will repeat what I said before. Yes, we have a serious crime problem in Arizona and the violence across the border is in danger of spilling over into our state. We have many murders here and almost every one is drug related. However, this law does absolutely nothing to solve that problem. We already have laws to take care of that, if a law alone is the answer. If you think that demanding papers will catch the drug lords I have a piece of the Grand Canyon I can sell you. It's all a 'feel good; I'm doing something' piece of legislation. Politics as usual.
Jan B. is upping the rhetoric. At a recent speech she itemized the things that we Arizonans need to be frightened about. Calamity Jan included beheadings. The only problem is, there has never been a beheading in Arizona. It's true that the drug wars over the border have escalated to that horrifying level, but it is strictly drug war related and the desperate people crossing the border just want a job.
I hope this divisive immigration law is stopped dead in it's tracks. If not, be warned that the fallout will be hard to watch.
As an aside, the one good thing that some had hoped that would come out of this law was forcing Congress to take up action on real immigration. It looks like they are afraid to touch this until after the Fall elections. So much for high hopes.
News Flash: Just in. The DOJ has filed a lawsuit in Federal Court against SB1070. Jan Brewer is furious. Why didn't she see this coming before signing this hateful legislation?
To fully understand this legislation please follow the link. Fact Check has laid it all out.