Scott Smith Raising Campaign Funds with Anti-Immigration Rhetoric
Former Mesa Mayor and GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Smith, known as a relative moderate on immigration, is joining in the inflammatory anti-immigrant rhetoric of his colleagues in a bid to score campaign contributions.
In an e-mail fundraising blast sent out to potential contributors on Monday, Smith bashed Barack Obama, unnamed "liberal attorneys," and "illegal border crossers," in a hard-line screed reminiscent of disbarred, disgraced ex-county attorney Andy Thomas, also a GOP candidate for governor.
President Obama's immigration policy is an abject failure, claims Smith in the e-mail, and "threatens lives and our national security."
"Instead of granting blanket amnesty to thousands of people who entered our country illegally, the President should first secure our border," he adds.
"Blanket amnesty"? Is that a reference to the President's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program? If so, DACA, as the name suggests, only defers removal proceedings for two years at a time, and only applies to DREAMers who meet certain conditions.
It's hardly amnesty, blanket or otherwise. Smith knows better.
One quote in the e-mail, putatively from Smith (though, as we all know, written for him by some hack), springs out in large font, from a red background.
"If you cross into this country illegally," it warns ominously, "you will be removed just as quickly as you got here, no matter who you are."
Repeating a claim he made in a gubernatorial debate on KFYI 550 a.m., Smith states that he's asked DHS to "use the Expedited Removal Hearings process" to fast-track the deportations of recent arrivals from Central America, including the 52,000 unaccompanied minors who have been taken into custody since October.
Smith spokesman David Leibowitz maintained via e-mail that what Smith was advocating could be done under current federal law.
Leibowitz said in part that:
"[The Mayor] believes that when it comes to the recent surge we've experienced at the border, that the best solution is to use expedited removals to send a clear message meant to defeat the cartels - if you come here illegally, you will be sent back. Again, this process is in accordance with US law."
Not according to immigration law expert Karen Tumlin, managing attorney of the National Immigration Law Center's Los Angeles office.
Tumlin says that the children coming to the U.S. from countries other than Mexico and Canada cannot be placed into expedited removal due to a 2008 law signed by President George W. Bush.