Turley-Hansen: Feds won't do it so Arizona state guard may have to

Guest commentary by Linda Turley-Hansen
Posted: Saturday, December 10, 2011 8:00 am
Updated: 12:41 pm, Sun Dec 11, 2011.

With our southern border under siege, expect our legislature to give life to a state military force. In the next legislative session, Jan. 8, Sen. Sylvia Allen will introduce a bill to organize a state guard to assist with border security.

Perhaps you remember, last year Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB1495, which would allow her to establish the guard. This next step handles the details of activation and funding.

This surely won't please those who wanted to cool legislative action in regards to illegal immigration. Some thought by recalling District 18 Senate President Russell Pearce, the Godfather of Arizona's controversial law SB1070, our border issues would take a siesta.

Pearce's replacement as Senate President is Yavapai County rancher Steve Pierce. He tells me he "has the same beliefs as Russell Pearce." We might wonder what Dr. Freud would say when one conservative Pearce is replaced by another. The gods do have a sense of humor, don't they? For ease in reading, take note, the new president's last name is spelled with an "i."

Yes, Pierce will approach Arizona's critical issues, his own way. However, he praises Pearce for his policies, especially his work with Arizona's economy, which of course included dealing with the burgeoning costs of illegal immigration.

The new senate president will continue developing a lean, state budget, putting forth a "Grape Nuts breakfast; doing more with less." His priority is jobs and a business friendly atmosphere.

As for the border issues, Pierce says, "I agree with Russell." However, Pierce did vote against five of the last bills Pearce introduced on immigration. "We don't need more bills," he told me. "We need to enforce what we have." Enforcement is a thorn in the side of Pearce's detractors. Pierce expects the courts to uphold SB1070.

He says illegal immigration is "a drain on our economy," and he concurs with others who warn "Arizona is in a state of emergency along the borders." Referring to the besieged land owners, Pierce says, "Those people need help." He supports the state's efforts to raise private money for a fence. "There needs to be a barrier," he says (buildtheborderfence.com). Further, he's a "strong supporter of organizing the guard and will do whatever he can to help Senator Allen in her efforts."

Those of us here in the southeast corner of Maricopa County have real reason to be alarmed. The sophisticated Mexican cartels are setting up shop, some reportedly infiltrated by terrorists. Multiple sources are witnesses, including Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, a rising star in regard to fighting border violators.

Babeu supports Senators McCain and Kyl's 10-Point Border Security Plan which "calls for immediate deployment of 6,000 armed soldiers for a period of two years." During that time, he says the other issues of fence building and full enforcement of the law should proceed. Babeu also supports a state guard.

Again, with little help from the Feds, our safety falls to courageous Arizonans who, in the face of hostile criticism, keep moving forth. They need citizen support.

Learn for yourselves why legislators and law enforcement are concerned. Check out a two-and-a-half hour Arizona Senate hearing, April 13, 2010 (www.azleg.gov) filled with chilling testimony from border residents. Or go to Newsmax.com for a report earlier this year by Jim Meyers, "Mexico Drug War Spills Across Border" (June 14, 2011).

There are those who pooh-pooh the above, who claim it is hype. It's unfathomable that they choose to risk Arizona's sovereignty, families, homes and jobs.

As for our legislative leadership, kudos for teaming up with a courageous governor. Let's hope they force a border closure before cartels move in next door.

• East Valley resident Linda Turley-Hansen (turleyhansen@gmail.com) is a syndicated columnist and former Phoenix veteran TV anchor.

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