The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Marjorie Valbrun (202) 463-8602 ext.305

Real Border Sheriffs Get It: Best Way to Secure the Border Is Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Pima County Sheriff Dupnik Speaks Up; Senators Kyl and McCain Step Back


Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, whose jurisdiction of Pima County, AZ
includes Tucson and 123 miles of border with Mexico, is the latest in a
chorus of law enforcement voices to oppose the new Arizona
anti-immigrant law and to call for sensible federal immigration reform.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director
of America's Voice, "Border Sheriff Clarence Dupnik joins a growing list
of prominent law enforcement professionals who are saying no to the
Arizona immigration law and yes to comprehensive immigration reform.
Meanwhile Arizona's two Republican senators are saying yes to the
Arizona law and no to comprehensive immigration reform. Remarkably,
Senators Kyl and McCain are blocking the very approach they championed
in the past. We can only conclude that they are more interested in
pandering to the Republican Party's nativists than in delivering the
control Arizonans desperately want."

Here are some of the key points made by Sheriff
Dupnik in a letter to the Wall Street Journal that has been reprinted in
Arizona media outlets:

" the past few weeks Arizona
became a model for the rest of the country of what not to do.

I have an enormous amount of
respect for the men and women of my department... But no one can tell them
what an illegal immigrant looks like and when it is ok to begin
questioning a person along those lines. This law puts them in a no-win
situation: They will be forced to offend and anger someone who is
perhaps a citizen or here legally when they ask to see his papers-or be
accused of nonfeasance because they do not.

Law enforcement did not ask for
and does not need this new tool. What we do need is assistance from the
federal government in the form of effective strategies to secure the
border. Additionally, the federal government must take up this issue in
the form of comprehensive immigration reform policy. If any good is to
come from this firestorm, it is that our legislators will finally
recognize that a problem exists and that they are the only ones with the
authority to address it."

Added Sharry, "the only way to truly secure the
border is to enact comprehensive reform that complements professional
and accountable border enforcement with measures that turn off the jobs
magnet, ensure all workers are legal, and create a mechanism for future
legal immigration."

In fact, this is what Senator McCain said in
2006 after the Senate approved the McCain-Kennedy comprehensive reform

"In passing this legislation, the
Senate rejected the argument for an 'enforcement first' strategy that
focuses on border security only, an ineffective and ill-advised
approach. . . . I believe the only way to truly secure our border and
protect our Nation is through the enactment of comprehensive immigration
reform." Congressional Record, September 29, 2006

That was then. Now Senator McCain is running
an ad entitled "Complete the Danged Fence." What a difference a
primary makes.

America's Voice -- Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform. The mission of America's Voice is to realize the promise of workable and humane comprehensive immigration reform. Our goal is to build the public support and create the political momentum for reforms that will transform a dysfunctional immigration system that does not work into a regulatory system that does.