Arizona's Prop. 202: Treason Lobby Wolf Donning Sheep's Clothing

Aggressive mimicry is a biological strategy where a predator or parasite will imitate a harmless or even helpful species to help attract their their prey—Aesop's fable about a wolf donning sheep's clothing was well-observed. This tactic is currently being used by the Treason Lobby in Arizona in an attempt to undermine the state's tough laws against employers of illegal aliens.

This November, the Arizona Ballot will feature Proposition 202, called the "Stop Illegal Hiring Act." The was summarized to petition signers and will be given to voters as

"Stop Illegal Hiring" Act is an initiative designed to crack down on unethical businesses who hire illegal immigrants. This initiative targets employers who hire workers and pay under-the-table in cash, which fuels illegal immigration in Arizona. It revokes the business license of employers who knowingly or intentionally hire illegal immigrants. This initiative increases penalties for identity theft, as illegal immigrants often use stolen identities to conceal their undocumented status. Fines collected as a result of this initiative will be distributed to schools and hospitals to help deal with the financial burden placed on Arizona because of illegal immigration

Limited to this information, any Arizonian would think they were voting to get tough on employers of illegal immigrants. But unfortunately the opposite is true. The act is over 4,000 words long, and nearly incomprehensible—even more so than most laws. While it does increase some penalties for hiring illegal immigrants and for identity theft, it makes it almost impossible for the state to prosecute these crimes. Worst of all, it would effectively overturn the Legal Arizona Workers Act (LAWA.)

LAWA, passed in 2007 by the Arizona legislature under the leadership of the State Rep. Russell Pearce would—among other things—require all employers within the state to use the Federal E-Verify system. E-Verify allows employers to instantaneously check the legal status of an employee or applicant by matching the social security number they are given with those in the Social Security Administration's database.

Since the 1986 IRCA legislation, it has been technically unlawful to hire illegal aliens in the U.S. But enforcement has traditionally been attempted by submitting an I-9, a federal government form that asks for two different types of identification. The problem is that these can be easily forged. Unless they are blatantly fraudulent, it is difficult to tell whether or not the employer is knowingly hiring an illegal.

To make matters even worse, an employer can get sued for a civil rights violation—"document abuse discrimination"—if he overly scrutinizes the documents of a minority for fraud.

E-Verify solves both these problems. There is no gray area where employers can plead ignorance nor can they cannot be accused of any sort of racial profiling. There have been repeated allegations that E-Verify is has a high error rate. But the vast majority of those errors are just simple input errors by the employer that were easily corrected. A recent study by the Center for Immigration Studies confirms that E-Verify is 99.5% accurate.

Although other states have required E-Verify for government contractors, Arizona is the first state to mandate it across the board. The results have been spectacular. Even before it was enacted, illegals left the state in droves. Elias Bermudez, founder of Immigrants Without Borders complained: "I would say we are losing at least 100 people a day." [Group estimates 100 illegal immigrants leaving every day,, By DANIEL GONZALEZ The Arizona Republic, September 1, 2007]

Since the requirement has been enacted, the Mexican Consulate reported droves of illegals going to get their papers in order to return to their homeland. One PBS feature on LAWA publicized how illegals were leaving. Business owners began to lobby against the law:

"Steel Fabricator Sheridan Bailey…fired 12 out of 40 workers after the sanctions law passed, afraid he'd be shut down. He's now helping bankroll the legal challenge and working with businesspeople in other states to fend off similar proposals everywhere."

As soon as LAWA was passed, a coalition of business groups filed lawsuits trying to issue an injunction and eventually overturn the law on the tired notion that because immigration policy is a federal issue, anything that states and localities do that has anything to do with immigration (unless of course it is to interfere with immigration policy through sanctuary laws) is unconstitutional.

But on September 17, LAWA was upheld by the notoriously open borders Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. It is unlikely that it will be appealed to the Supreme Court, so LAWA and similar laws should be safe from the Courts for the foreseeable future.

With all their undemocratic options exhausted, the Treason Lobby has now resorted to outright deception of the electorate via Proposition 202. The main group funding the initiative is a coalition of business interests called "Wake Up Arizona" who were also one of the primary plaintiffs in the suit to overturn LAWA.

Generally, the problem with our laws against employers of illegal aliens is not so much that the penalties aren't tough enough - it's that they aren't being enforced. The Stop Illegal Hiring Act will eliminate the E-Verify requirement and allow employers to go back to the I-9 system, which it makes even more unenforceable by calling it a "non-rebuttable presumption of innocence." In other words: if you submit an I-9 form, you are immune from prosecution.

The law would prohibit the state from taking any action unless the federal government initiates the process. It would give amnesty to all employers who hired illegals prior to its enactment. And it would prohibit whistleblowers from alerting law enforcement authorities about illegal hiring.

So we are now left in the amazing situation of a law that was signed by a Democratic governor and upheld by the most left wing court in the country being threatened by a ballot initiative.

It is easy to get discouraged by these continued manipulations by the Treason Lobby. Don't they ever give up?

But there is a silver lining: Prop 202 is just further demonstration that the Treason Lobby knows that the people are overwhelmingly against them—that they can only succeed through chicanery.

Unfortunately for them, with talk radio and the internet, it's much easier to rip off the veneer and expose their true agenda which they know will be rejected.

Wake Up Arizona and all the other pseudo-immigration controllers should remember that in Aesop's fable, the wolf in sheep's clothing was still slaughtered.

Marcus Epstein [send him mail] is the founder of the Robert A Taft Club and the executive director of the The American Cause and Team America PAC. A selection of his articles can be seen here. The views he expresses are his own.