Ariz.’s largest paper: Pols failed on immigration

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PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona’s largest newspaper criticized U.S. Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl and a host of other elected officials in a rare front-page editorial Sunday, saying the politicians have failed to find solutions to illegal immigration.

The state has become the target of calls for boycotts since adopting a law that requires local and state law enforcement officers to question people about their immigration status if there’s reason to suspect they’re in the country illegally.

“The federal government is abdicating its duty on the border. Arizona politicians are pandering to public fear,” The Arizona Republic said in a full-page editorial. “The result is a state law that intimidates Latinos while doing nothing to curb illegal immigration.”

Doug MacEachern, an editorial writer for the Republic, said the newspaper has put editorials on the front page over the years but this was the first time one filled the front page.

“It’s of sufficient importance that we thought it required something very over-the-top to grab people’s attention,” he told The Associated Press on Sunday.

The editorial appeared one day after thousands marched against the law in Phoenix and Tucson, Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, among other cities.

McCain was once a champion of comprehensive immigration reform but has abandoned his principles while he fights off a GOP primary challenge this year from former U.S. Rep. J.D. Hayworth, the Republic said.

McCain spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan said the senator has long believed the U.S. needs to secure the border first, and it’s “not even close to an election year conversion.”

“Sen. McCain has been calling for secure borders for over three years as the violence on the border continues to increase and spill over to our side of the border,” Buchanan said Sunday.

Kyl has also dropped efforts for comprehensive reform and is no longer willing to work with Democrats on the issue now that he’s a member of the Senate Republic leadership, the paper said.

“We already had several editorials setting out our objections to the new law, and this addresses the umbrella issue of a lack of leadership that really has played out over a number of years,” MacEachern said.

The editorial also named Gov. Jan Brewer, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former governor and current Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

“Ensconced in a Democratic administration, she forgot all the arguments she once used to demand the Bush administration address immigration reform and reimburse Arizona for the costs of the broken border,” the Republic said. “Put in charge of Obama’s effort to craft immigration reform, she couldn’t get the thing out of neutral.”

Napolitano, speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” said more resources were being poured into securing the border than ever before.

“Every resource that can be put at that border is being put at the border. Every security is being made,” Napolitano said. “But we still need comprehensive immigration reform.”

The newspaper called for reform that allows for current undocumented immigrants to earn citizenship, secures the borders and puts tough sanctions in place for employers who hire undocumented immigrants.


On the Net:

The Arizona Republic: http://www.azcentral.com