I am the branch president of one of the Spanish language congregations in Mesa, Arizona to which you made reference in your recent article on Mormons and profiling. I can tell you that there are many in this area (including much of the Anglo population) who truly abhor the things that Russell Pearce is doing and saying to this most vulnerable of people.
I have been the branch President for just about 18 months and we have had over 100 convert baptisms in that period of time. Pearce and his acolytes give the church unwelcomed attention as did ex-governor Evan Mecham. Utah has Chris Buttars and we now have Russell Pearce to thank for giving Arizona Mormons another PR challenge to overcome.
I attach a letter I wrote to Governor Brewer which outlines the shortsightedness of the recently passed legislation. I believe my letter represents the views of the majority of right thinking Mormons in Arizona. We clearly still have some knuckle dragging closet racists in the Church. We pray that they will recognize the evil in their ways.
William R. Richardson
Richardson & Richardson, P.C.
1745 South Alma School Road
Mesa, Arizona 85210-3010
April 23, 2010
The Honorable Jan Brewer
Governor of Arizona
1700 West Washington
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
Re: Senate Bill 1070
Dear Governor Brewer:
I am a fifth generation native Arizonan, father of six children and a confirmed Republican.
I have been a member of the State Bar for over 26 years and have practiced in the area of
commercial and bankruptcy litigation. I am active in both my religious community and in the
community at large. I have worked with the youth here in the Valley for over 30 years in both
church and youth athletics. I have first hand experience with many, many children of the immigrant
My wife and I had the great opportunity to have in our home a lovely young lady whose
family immigrated from Sinaloa, Mexico. After over approximately fifteen years of residence in
Arizona, her father, who was a productive worker and homeowner, was deported. Because he was
deported, this two earner family could no longer afford to pay the mortgage on the house they were
buying. Thus, the mother who remained, ultimately took her young son (who knew next to nothing
about Mexico) and moved to Mexico.
The father could not find work in Mexico and the mother
could find work that only paid 25¢ an hour. She has had to work 12 hours a day for about three
dollars a day to survive. That meant, naturally, that she was unable to care for her seven year old
son to any reasonable degree. The young lady who lived with me and my family, attended Dobson
High and we paid everything for her including medical, dental, orthodontia, school fees, clothing,
etc. This was a great blessing to us as we saw this young girl blossom with, at last, a little hope in
her life. Oh yes, she’s an American as are most Arizonans – not by virtue of the national origin of
their parents, but by virtue of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.
This underscores the difficulty that I, and many other right thinking Republicans have with
Russell Pearce, Joe Arpaio and Andrew Thomas and those who espouse their policies. The passage
of Senate Bill 1070 will further a policy that has damaged and will continue to damage the great
State of Arizona. My concerns are as follows:
By most estimates, there are approximately 400,000 undocumented immigrants in the State
of Arizona. According to the estimates of FAIR, an anti-immigrant website, there are about two births for every undocumented immigrant. That suggests to me that there could be in the
neighborhood of 800,000 young American children who are going to be affected by these policies.
While I am certainly in favor of legal immigration, I think we need to tread lightly when we adopt
policies which will clearly harm the well-being of our most vulnerable of citizens.
I suggest to you that if CPS were to find Arizona children living in Arizona, as they will undoubtably have to live
if their parents are forced to flee to Mexico, the children would be removed and given up for foster
care. In Mexico and other Latin countries, they will have little chance for a decent education, for
proper nutrition, and the list goes on. My personal example is testimony enough for me.
Nobody is focusing on the children. As it is, many American children are not getting
benefits to which they may be entitled because of other recent legislation that requires the parents
to demonstrate their immigration status when approaching state agencies. Parents are simply afraid
to seek the help their children may need.
It seems a foolish thing to create a situation where parents
are not allowed to care properly for their American children. The assumption has always been that
anyone who works hard, studies hard and is a good citizen, should have at least an opportunity to
succeed in our country. Apparently, that supposition does not apply if your parents were not born
here. Perhaps these immigrant parents should drop their children off on the steps of the Capital
Building on their way south so that the tax payers can REALLY take care of them.
ALIENATION OF THE HISPANIC COMMUNITY
It is against my nature, and perhaps yours too, to pander to any group to achieve my personal
goals. However, in the case of the Hispanic population here in Arizona, no pandering is necessary.
Any survey will demonstrate that Hispanics are by and large conservatives to the core. They believe
in hard work and in earning what you receive. They are fiscal conservatives. They have learned to
be so because of their economic situation. If they do not have the cash to buy something, they do
not buy it. Although a certain amount of this attitude stems from the fact that many Hispanics have
little in the way of credit and that many have no bank accounts, the principle of “pay as you go” is
firmly rooted in our Hispanic neighbors.
Hispanics are very family oriented and hold tight to their
religious teachings. They have large families and are taught the values that come from tightly knit
family units. They are firmly in favor of traditional marriage as well and recognize the value of a
father and a mother in raising children in these days of licentiousness and depravity.
The question is why would we alienate such a constituency that supports our Republican
The legislation that is before you will do just that. It will alienate a population that in very
short order will carry a very strong and influential voice in Arizona as children of the immigrant
population reach voting age. Adoption of Senate Bill 1070 will drive away an otherwise
conservative constituency that the Republican party needs if the Republican agenda is to be
implemented in Arizona in the future. We need to address immigration problems but not this way.
Our police officers and our cities are already burdened financially. There is hardly enough
money to keep them going let alone impose additional costly procedures.
IMPRACTICALITY AND UNFAIRNESS
My family and my children have many Hispanic friends. The way the current bill reads, I
must now act as an undeputized immigration officer or risk arrest or impoundment of my vehicle
if I transport an undocumented immigrant – even a friend.
I note that this provision applies to anybody who is “in violation of a criminal offense.” This
language could ostensibly apply to one who has violated a city building code by installing sprinklers
without a permit. The statute does not limit itself to c
rimes that relate to transportat
this statute will allow impoundment of vehicles if, for example, someone has committed speeding
and other traffic offenses which may arise to varying degrees of “criminal” activity but which most
citizens would not think serious enough to have their cars impounded. This is simply a punishment
that does not fit the crime.
Am I now required to investigate the
immigration status of anyone to whom I give a ride? There are exclusions for emergency vehicles,
but what about all of the Valley’s bus drivers and the light rail? How about the little league and
softball coaches in some of the poorer areas of town? Do they now need riders to provide proof of
citizenship before they can give a ride to a kid?
VAGUE AND OVER ENCOMPASSING LANGUAGE
My dad is a former Senator from Graham County, a former County Attorney and a member
of the State Bar since 1940. He is 92 years old. Under the bill in question, he could only be
presumed “not [to] be an alien who is unlawfully present” in Arizona only if he can show
identification. He has none of the required identification. While the reverse presumption is not
stated, the application of the statute will no doubt require the opposite assumption. The same
difficulty will arise for all of our northern winter visitors who have none of the four required forms
VIOLATION OF FEDERAL LAWS
New section 13-1509 will surely be voided by the federal courts. It imposes on immigrants
requirements that are far beyond what can be required under federal immigration law. The federal
courts that have decided this issue have universally held that such requirements are pre-empted by federal law. See, e.g., Villas at Parkside Partners v. The City of Farmers Branch, No. 3:08 CV-1551-B (March 24, 2010, N.D. Tex.)(requirement of local residential occupancy license which
could only be issued to citizens or legal residents).
Despite what the polls say, those in my social and economic sphere do not believe there is
any reason for this legislation other than to make Arizona unfriendly to undocumented immigrants
and their families. This very factor was one of the considerations of the Texas Court seized upon
in invalidating that city’s not so veiled attempt to enforce immigration laws in their own unfriendly
What is being practiced here is nothing more than bullying – and bullying with undertones
of class and racial bias. One need only look at the websites of FAIR and other immigrant bashing
organizations to see a clear bias for all but the white middle class. Indeed, many of these sites
argue as did the “Know Nothings” of the nineteenth century, that the goal was less about
immigration, and more about thwarting any unwelcome change in the culture of the era. The Know Nothing Party was especially hostile to the Irish and to the Catholics.
I live in an upscale neighborhood in West Mesa. A short five minutes north of where I live,
there are many, many apartments. The apartments are largely unoccupied due the flight of many
immigrants who used to live and shopp in the area. Basha’s had to file for bankruptcy relief
because the sales in its Food City stores suffered due to all the immigrant bashing and the
consequent movement of many immigrants to other states.
Even the conservative CATO institute has (for at least the second time) determined through an extensive study, that immigrants are a net
boon to our economy. This is so even though they do use some educational and medical services. See: “Restriction or Legalization? Measuring the Economic Benefits of Immigration Reform,” by Peter B. Dixon and Maureen T. Rimmer, Trade Policy Analysis no. 40, August 13, 2009.
I am sure that this letter is too long for you to read personally. However, the hope that a
staffer might read it and convey even a portion of my thoughts, is enough for me to make the effort.
I will fight with my time, my voice and my money those who, for no other reason that they can
bully others, continue to oppress the parents of so many American children.
Close the borders. Seek sensible resolutions to the immigration mess that we have. But please do not frighten the children any more and don’t let a bunch of insensitive knuckleheads at the legislature intimidate you.
There is a large part of the Republican party who is tired of Pearce and his acolytes and that number is
Thank you for considering my thoughts.
Very truly yours,
William R. Richardson
cc: Senator Jay Tibshraeny
Representative Warde Nichols
Representative Steve Yarborough
Editor’s Note: Letter posted with permission of author; formatted for web presentation from pdf original; some paragraph breaks added for readability; and notes incorporated into text.–gm
Texas Governor says Arizona approach not Right for Texas
I fully recognize and support a state’s right and obligation to protect its citizens, but I have concerns with portions of the law passed in Arizona and believe it would not be the right direction for Texas.
For example, some aspects of the law turn law enforcement officers into immigration officials by requiring them to determine immigration status during any lawful contact with a suspected alien, taking them away from their existing law enforcement duties, which are critical to keeping citizens safe.
Our focus must continue to be on the criminal elements involved with conducting criminal acts against Texans and their property. I will continue to work with the legislative leadership to develop strategies that are appropriate for Texas.
–Excerpt from statement by Texas Gov. Rick Perry (April 29, 2010)