Kyrsten Sinema's Drop House Bill, and Steve Gallardo's Rebuttal

picresized_1296846575_gallardo2.jpg
Gallardo's Facebook Page
Democrat Steve Gallardo gave fellow Dem Kyrsten Sinema hell in committee re: her drop-house legislation

Arizona's pro-immigrant community is ticked at one if its own: uber-lefty state Senator Kyrsten Sinema, who has in the past marched with the Reverend Al Sharpton in protest of Senate Bill 1070, and normally opposes the Republinuts in the state legislature on most of their nefarious doings.

Such liberal bona fides aside, Sinema, of course, is a politician, and reputedly longs to run for Congress one day. And since, for her, running for Congress will likely mean running in a competitive district, Sinema will have to be able to prove to voters that she's been "tough on the border," or so she no doubt calculates.

How else to explain her occasional stabs into what is normally nativist territory; i.e., regulating the "illegals"? Last year, when she was still in the state House, it was with HB 2673, which tinkered, almost imperceptibly, with a law regarding human trafficking. The Senate version of the bill, sponsored by then Republican state Senator Jonathan Paton, ultimately became law.

When the House version passed through committee, Sinema touted her success via press release:

"House Bill 2673, sponsored by Assistant House Democratic Leader Kyrsten Sinema, eliminates a clause in Arizona law that requires police to prove that the trafficked individual be obtained `for transport' to qualify as being trafficked for sex or labor. The bill also aids prosecutors to convict traffickers."

"`This bill gives law enforcement a greater ability to fight heinous crimes like human trafficking for sex or slave labor,' Sinema said. `It's a simple fix that makes a huge difference for public safety in our neighborhoods.'"

It was deja vu all over again in the state Senate this week, as Sinema appeared before state Senator Sylvia Allen's "border security" committee to argue on behalf of SB 1225, which bumps up forgery from a class four felony to a class three felony if the forged docs are used in relation to a "drop house."

The sentencing range for a class four felony is one to 3.75 years. The sentencing range for a class three felony is two to 8.75 years.

May not seem like a big deal at first blush, but as Three Sonorans blogger David Abie Morales has noted, such laws can and have been applied to people who are not actually engaged in "smuggling." Best example of this is former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas' interpretation of the anti-coyote statute to apply to those conspiring to "self-smuggle" themselves into the country.

Morales observes that under state law, "If you have undocumented persons living with you, or if you are giving them a ride to the store, or picking them up because they are dying in the middle of the desert, you are now a felon!"

Sinema's the only Democrat sponsoring her bill. All of the other sponsors and co-sponsors are Republicans such as state Senator Ron Gould, champion of gutting the 14th Amendment, Senators Linda Gray, Nancy Barto and others. 

The Republicans on Allen's committee welcomed and supported Sinema's bill, which eventually received a do-pass recommendation from the majority. Only Democrat Steve Gallardo voted "no."

Indeed, Senator Gallardo gave Sinema some grief as she stood before the committee, wondering why Sinema didn't want to bump up punishment for the crime even more?

"Why not kick it up even higher?" Gallardo asked. "Let's make it a class two. If we're gonna do it, let's do it."

Sinema earnestly responded that class two felonies were things like rape and manslaughter, so it wouldn't be appropriate to put this forgery crime in that category.

Gallardo kept after Sinema with this line, arguing that rapes, assaults and murders do happen in drop houses, so an elevation to a class two would be appropriate. After a little more sparring, Gallardo came clean on his real objection to the bill.

"I and many other members at the legislature have taken the stance that immigration bills really need to be put on hold for now," Gallardo said. "Our focus should be the budget. Let's focus on the economy, let's focus on jobs, let's focus on the deficit. That should be our focus."

Chairwoman Allen jumped to Sinema's defense, saying that work on the budget and a jobs bill was going on, and that her committee's work didn't interfere with that. 

Sinema chimed in that we should all be able to agree -- regardless of party -- that "violent criminal cartels are bad for our society."

Senator Al Melvin, a notorious nativist and lick-spittle lackey to state Senate President Russell Pearce, similarly defended Sinema and thanked her for bringing the bill before the committee. Then he spouted the bogus stat that Arizona's "porous border" with Mexico is costing the state $2 billion to $3 billion a year in costs related to "illegal aliens."

Gallardo asked Melvin for the source for this fantastic statistic. Not surprisingly, Melvin cited the hate group FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

After the vote, Sinema's staff issued a press release quoting Sinema, thus:

"We must secure our borders...Human trafficking of children happens in drop houses in our neighborhoods every day. We need to get tough on real immigration solutions and we need to give law enforcement the real tools they need to keep our families safe. I think we can all agree that criminal cartels should not be allowed to operate in our cities."

I wouldn't rob Sinema of any Congressional ambitions she has, and the effect of SB 1225 seems debatable at best. But when she panders to the wingnut crowd, she gives some legitimacy to bigoted lunatics such as Melvin and Pearce. 

Sinema likes to tout ways of cooperating with the Republiloons in the legislature. I would argue that you cannot cooperate with such an insidious regime. 

Instead, Sinema's mantra should be more Churchillian. Her stance toward to the GOPers should be, "War all the time." At least until the Arizona Republican Party is no longer run by a pack of mean-spirited, delusional wackos.

My Voice Nation Help
30 comments
Wake up Arizona!
Wake up Arizona!

I will not support DINO's. As a Democrat in Arizona Sinema cannot get voted into power without the Hispanic vote. Basically she has now successfully screwed herself for any further political positions in AZ!!!

slow down
slow down

clarification: the federal definition includes "transportation" but not exclusively. Laws which are dependent upon transportation to define trafficking are flawed and troublesome.

slow down
slow down

I don't like the "tough on immigration" rhetoric that has come up surrounding this bill but it should be noted that laws regarding human trafficking are important, and last year's hb 2673 made a change that is more than a little bit perceptible. Trafficking, by federal definition, is "the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion, for the purpose of subjecting that person to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery. Many states have added "transportation" to the definition and have therefore created a lot of confusion and limited opportunities for prosecution of traffickers, both foreign and domestic. Kyrsten Sinema has been a leader in anti-trafficking legislation and seems to understand what a lot of others don't -- which is that trafficking is an issue for immigrants as much as for teenage girls in Phoenix. The confusion between trafficking and smuggling in Arizona has caused a lot of problems as well and i am not clear yet as to whether sb 1225 will exacerbate the problem or not. From my reading of the bill, though, I do not see how it will have implications beyond forgery, and I do not think the argument that it will make humanitarian groups or citizens who transport undocumented persons in their cars "drop houses." I could certainly be wrong. I would urge some caution before people jump on the bandwagon to hate this bill before they fully understand it, though. I'm not sure even the wingnuts know what they are talking about.

Coz
Coz

Fucking politicians would sell their mothers if they thought it would bring them votes and get them elected.

Fucking scum is all they are.

Arizona Educator
Arizona Educator

As an educator, student advocate and confidante, I am literally sickened by the ignorance, hatred, racism and fear mongering that has been allowed to penetrate our learning communities. ”Don’t ask, don’t tell” is as bad a policy in education as it is the military and attempts to criminalize me for being a caring teacher, or any law that could be interpreted as such, needs to be stopped. I adopted my precocious orphan daughter, right out of my college classroom, when she was only 15 years old. She lived in my house and I transported her. It took 10 years for her to become a citizen, even though she was an orphan and I have always been a US citizen. If my behavior could be interpreted as criminal by this law, it is a bad law. Stop the ignorance and stop electing poorly educated people to office whose only qualification is their hatred and their puppet strings.

Tombstone_Pete
Tombstone_Pete

It is tough being brown and proving to the sandbillies that you are worthy of their vote. I guess not having a soul or spine helps.

Steve Muratore
Steve Muratore

btw, Kyrsten Sinema is NOT assistant House Minority Leader. She a state senator.

Bobunf
Bobunf

This bill, like so many others, will accomplish approximately nothing. "Smuggling" is already illegal, a violation of at least three different laws. This just tweaks the penalty, and give Sinema the a very thin "I'm tough on the border" mantle.

It's a pure and simple pander, and will, hopefully, backfire on account of its opportunism and scapegoating. What a shameful, hypocritical person.

Jonathan Paton
Jonathan Paton

I need to correct the record here. Sinema's language was specific to "trafficking" and not "human smuggling". There is a big difference. Human smuggling is bringing someone into the country with their full knowledge or assent. Trafficking is using deceptive or coercive means to bring someone into the country in order to exploit them. Sinema never advocated for the bill to include human smuggling. I ought to know because I sponsored the bill in the first place.

Stacy_paratore
Stacy_paratore

Finally !! A Senator with a back bone and can stand on Principals !! Yay for Sen. Steve Gallardo. HE should be the one running for Congress.. Gallardo for Congress.. I'd vote that ticket any day!

JT Ready
JT Ready

According to Gallardo, we should be ignoring this:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/u...

And this:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/u...

While concentrating instead on Russell Pearce's wackadoodle budget fantasies.

No. Real human rights activists and immigration rights activists care about the plight of the undocumented dying, being held prisoner, raped, tortured, ransomed, and murdered here in Arizona. Most of the Latino "activists" such as Gallardo are just shills in suits taking advantage of their own people's misery for their own political gain. It is a true travesty that a reputed neo-Nazi cares more about immigrants than the brown-skinned mouth pieces in our state.

I thought we as a nation learned something from slavery. Now we are repeating the same mistakes as before. There is a great German saying for this. "The more I learn from history, the more I learn that people do not learn from history."

Loosecannonsbluesband
Loosecannonsbluesband

We need to take this immigration reform movement in a different direction. We keep doing the same things and the outcome is the same. That's the definition of insanity!

The solution is simple - the people who are wanting to hire undocumented workers are really the ones we should be punishing. Let the pro-immigrant rights groups get a strike fund together and organize a labor boycott for short term and encourage the migrant workers and other undocumented people to strike.

After about a week of a labor strike by undocumented workers, I predict that there will be action on the part of the manufacturer and the spouses of our legislators to demand immigration reform so they can get Juan and Juanita back to work at their factories and in their back yards pronto.

Truth to Power
Truth to Power

SInema is the same person who told the Democratic caucus to vote FOR SB1070 last year "because it's going to pass anyway." Everyone knows she's brown-nosing the Republicans so she can run for Congress in 2012. This isn't about the people, it's about her. People are cluing into her self-serving behavior and it won't be pretty when it catches up to her.

I know I'll be campaigning against her and any other Democrat who supports this madness.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

Mr. Lemons:

Your opinion that our elected representatives in the Arizona legislature should oppose any and all bills proffered by the majority which happens to control the house and senate AT THIS MOMENT is quite hypocritical. I am quite sure you have complained about the republicants in the federal legislature opposing everything put on the table by the dems during their period of total control and now you're proposing that the dems in the State legislature do the same?

I'm not sure where the opposition to punishing crime syndicate members who engage in human trafficking (basically SLAVERY!) comes from or what mental state one has to bring oneself to in order to do so, but you're presentation of this issue is WAY off base.

To my knowledge, not one organization in the immigrant rights movement encourages people to cross the border illegally. While the nativist whackos might try to put that lie across, there just aren't. Now, there are a lot of people who advocate treating these people like the Constitution says they ought to be treated (i.e., not cruelly, and not inhumanely) after they get here, but they're not advocating a wholesale amnesty of every undocumented worker or illegal immigrant.

People participating in human smuggling cartels don't think the same as you and I. They actively pursue people to bring across the border. They're called Coyotes. Whether they are paid by the rancher or manufacturer or by the individuals being smuggled, they are vile, evil people who would sell their mothers as whores to the lowest bidder. Their activities need to be curtailed. Raising the penalty for human suggling is the right thing to do. While it won't stop the activity totally, it will increase the risk for the Coyotes and hopefully discourage a few less people from crossing our border illegally.

Remember, if the illegal border crossers and their families here in the U.S. and Mexico were to become politically active and actually work to change the laws - continuing to break the law and piss off the people they need to convince to pass comprehensive immigration reform would be the LAST thing they would be doing.

Az_geo
Az_geo

Congratulations Kirsten, there may be hope for you yet

StephenLemons
StephenLemons

She was last year, Steve. 2673 was from last year. Sorry if that was confusing. My point was that she did this last year as well.

EKRDP
EKRDP

Actually, trafficking doesn't require bringing anyone anywhere. It's a labor base crime, not a movement based crime.

JT Ready
JT Ready

Of course not. That is what the media has been labeling me lately. Sounds catchy. I am not a neo-Nazi either. I am a National Socialist.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

Adolf Hitler's Nazi party is by far the most famous national socialist party. You are really ARE a numbnuts aren't you. If you're a National Socialist, you ARE a NAZI fat boy!

Tombstone_Pete
Tombstone_Pete

Only in the great state of sandbillies would you even get a paragraph of attention. Most places tend to ignore their village idiots.

The Lou Show
The Lou Show

JT: "I am not a neo-Nazi either. I am a National Socialist."

Not a Nazi, huh? You? That's like saying "I'm not an Anti-Semite! I just hate Jews, that's all."

Don't blame the media, JT. What side were you on at the Nov 14 Nazi Protest? You were on the side of the Nazis. If it looks like a JT, and talks like JT, it must be . . . a Nazi.

Try again.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...