Posts Tagged ‘Arizona’
December 16th, 2015 at 3:45 pm
Arizona Tribe’s Violation of Trust Demands Congressional Remedy
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In both contract negotiation and public policy, the duty of good faith and fair dealing remains a fundamental one.

In Arizona, unfortunately, the Tohono O’odham tribe has repeatedly violated that duty, which now requires Congressional action to remedy the situation.

By way of background, this regrettable and wholly unnecessary dispute arises from a $400 million casino in the western Phoenix metro area set for completion later this month.

Back in 2001, the Tohono O’odham continued seeking casino properties even while participating in compact negotiations with a coalition of 16 other Arizona tribes.  The coalition collectively promised Arizona voters and elected officials in 2002 that there would be no additional casinos within the Phoenix metropolitan area until the agreed-upon compact expired in 2027.  Arizona voters subsequently approved the agreement and granted it the force of law.

Just one year later, however, the Tohono O’odham tribe violated that pledge by purchasing a casino site through a shell corporation to conceal its ownership.

Then, in 2009, the tribe launched the current battle by declaring that a “legal loophole” in the state’s existing gaming compact gave it the right to build a casino in Phoenix on a plot of land situated across the street from a high school and close to a number of residential areas.  Beyond the tawdry behind-the-scenes scheming and legal trickery, that constitutes a deep violation of the trust Arizona voters and their elected and appointed officials had placed in the tribe.  The Tohono O’odham tribe, however, flouts the law under color of a legal defense of tribal sovereign immunity.

Accordingly, the tribe refuses to be held accountable by the compact itself, as well as the state and tribes with which it negotiated.

The outrage among state officials is palpable.  Governor Doug Ducey, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and Department of Gaming Director Daniel Bergin all have alleged that the tribe committed fraud in not disclosing its West Valley casino plans while negotiating its state compact.

Consequently, the battle now shifts to the U.S. Congress as the last line of defense.  More specifically, the power to maintain the Arizona gaming compact sits with Congress and the Keep the Promise Act.

It would have been preferable for this Arizona problem to be settled by its own state institutions, but that is no longer possible.  Congressional action is required.

The Keep the Promise Act would prevent a rapid and chaotic expansion of gaming in the state until the end of the current compacts in 2027.  It would also force the Tohono O’odham to live up to its promises.  The bill is fair, and respects the long-established sovereign rights of the tribes and the state of Arizona.  It’s also supported by key members of Arizona’s Washington delegation, along with tribes in the metro Phoenix area, the Navajo Nation and several rural tribes.

Enough is enough.  We at CFIF support Keep the Promise Act to preserve the agreements voters made – or at least thought they made – concerning Arizona gaming.  We also need to send a message that agreeing parties can’t subvert the very system of laws it once agreed to support.

October 24th, 2012 at 8:17 pm
How to Lose a Close Election
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No, I’m not talking about the abortion dustup in Indiana’s U.S. Senate race , where I’m not sure the Republican candidate is as embattled as the media thinks (reason #1: members of the coastal media and members of the Indiana electorate might as well be from different species).

Rather, I’m referring to the U.S. Senate contest in Arizona, where Democrat Richard Carmona — a former Surgeon General in the administration of George W. Bush — has managed to run surprisingly close against Congressman Jeff Flake, a laudable champion of limited government. There’s been some mud thrown by both sides in recent weeks, but the newest development is a self-inflicted wound from Carmona. From a blog entry by Daniel Halper at The Weekly Standard:

“Obesity is the terror within,” Carmona told a University of South Carolina audience in early 2006, according to a wire report from then. “Unless we do something about it, the magnitude of the dilemma will dwarf 9-11 or any other terrorist attempt.”

Will Arizona — the state that gave us Barry Goldwater — really send a man to the U.S. Senate who regards the ice cream freezer of your local grocery store as more menacing than an Al Qaeda training camp? Count me skeptical.


July 12th, 2012 at 1:10 pm
One More Exception on Education Reform
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Quin’s right to point out Alabama’s Robert Bentley as an exception to the growing trend of conservative governors pushing education reform pointed out in my column this week. Bentley deserves every ounce of scorn he’s getting for knuckling under to the unions. And while we’re in the midst of handing out demerits, I’ll also nominate Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.

Around the same time that Bobby Jindal’s education reform package in Louisiana was doing its victory lap, Brewer vetoed a huge expansion of school vouchers in the Grand Canyon State with an explanation that defies exegesis:

… Brewer, while describing herself as a long-time advocate of school choice—citing other legislation she has signed promoting educational competition—also said “there is a careful balance we have to maintain.”

“We must enhance educational options wherever we can, but we must also ensure that government is not artificially manipulating the market through state budget or tax policy that would make an otherwise viable option so unattractive that it undermines rational choice in a competitive market,” the governor explained.

Impenetrable. This reads like a veto statement by James Joyce.

Obviously Brewer didn’t want to deal with the backlash from the educational establishment, so she sold out the members of the state legislature who were brave enough to take up the fight. How folks like Bentley and Brewer can look their state’s schoolchildren in the eyes is beyond me.

June 25th, 2012 at 12:26 pm
Surprisingly Big Win for Obamites on AZ Immigration Law

Despite premature rejoicing among immigration restrictionists not once but twice — first after oral argument, where Obama Solicitor General Donald Verrilli seemed to really take it on the chin, and then when the first reports of this morning’s decision were Tweeted out — the reality is that the Obama administration won much more than it lost today in the Supreme Court ruling on the Arizona immigration law. The part that restrictionists were cheering was that which allows police who have arrested somebody for other reasons to also check their citizenship/residency status. That is, of course, the most prominent part of the law; hence the rejoicing on the hard right.

A closer look, however, shows that the provision survived only because A) it applies only with strict limitations on its reach, and B) because state courts have not had a chance to officially construe its meaning. In other words, depending on how state courts interpret the law, even that provision may in the future by thrown out by the Supremes.

Meanwhile, three other important provisions, including one making it unlawful for illegal aliens to take jobs in Arizona, were thrown out. This is a big deal. What the high court — with not only Kennedy but also Chief Justice Roberts joining the liberals — is saying is that federal law should be construed, even without express provision, to pre-empt (or preclude) state law in those same areas. This is a big loss for state’s autonomous powers. To quote from the court’s syllabus (with my emphasis added), “Because Congress has occupied the field, even complementary state regulation is impermissible”. This is, frankly, a shock to me. It means that on any subject even remotely touching on foreign policy on which Congress legislates, the states are not permitted even to pass their own laws in pursuit of the same objectives.

Restrictionists also might gag at this line from the syllabus: “As a general rule, it is not a crime for a removable alien to remain in the United States.”

I count myself as a “moderate restrictionist.” On the merits, however, I thought Arizona was entirely right, and the administration entirely wrong. I therefore am not happy with this decision. I think it amounts to a huge infringement upon state policing authority. It certainly supports much of the Obama argument — an argument which, to me and many others, still seems ludicrous.

Oh, well.

The federal registration framework remains comprehensive. Because
Congress has occupied the field, even complementary state regulation
is impermissible.
May 4th, 2012 at 7:54 am
Podcast: SCOTUS and Arizona’s Illegal Immigration Law
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In an interview with CFIF, Matt Mayer, Visiting Fellow at The Heritage Foundation and a former U.S. Department of Homeland Security official, talks about the Arizona Immigration Law, oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court and the state of terrorism threats in America.

Listen to the interview here.

April 24th, 2012 at 2:20 pm
Dip in Mexican Migration Validates Arizona’s Law

Today’s Wall Street Journal highlights a new report by the Pew Hispanic Center showing a drastic change in Mexican immigration patterns into the United States over the last decade.

During America’s economic boom from the 1990’s until 2005, millions of illegal immigrants were attracted to border-states like Arizona for lucrative work in industries like construction.

Between 2005 and 2010, however, the numbers of Mexicans migrating back to Mexico roughly matched the numbers of those coming into America.  In 2011, evidence suggests that more Mexican immigrants returned to Mexico than came to America.

The WSJ author’s final paragraph gives a glimpse how the Pew report might be used by liberals to undermine Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration law being argued before the U.S. Supreme Court tomorrow.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court begins a review of Arizona’s anti-illegal immigrant law. That law, and similar ones drafted in other states, has led some undocumented Mexicans to go home. Lawmakers should take the shift into account to ensure policies reflect current reality, said Roberto Suro, a professor of public policy at the University of Southern California.”We have turned the page in terms of migration,” he said. “We haven’t turned the page yet in terms of the policies.”

Justified laws that achieve their intended purpose should be applauded, not repealed.  In Arizona’s case, the state had unacceptably high levels of illegal immigration and it passed a law to help state law enforcement officers identify and deport illegals who had then committed a second crime (the first being illegal entry).

If the Pew findings are true and illegal immigrants took Arizona – speaking through its law – at the state’s word, then the present reality of less illegal immigration supports continuing the law’s enforcement.  To follow the logic of USC’s Professor Sura about success mandating repeal is foolish and denies the important role law plays in deterring bad behavior.

February 25th, 2012 at 4:59 pm
Santorum’s Senatorial Habits Die Hard

Just days before the pivotal Michigan and Arizona GOP primaries, Rick Santorum lapsed back into long-winded Senator mode when delivering a major speech on his first 100 days as President.  Although the speech contained plenty of red meat for conservatives – e.g. repealing Obamacare, cutting spending and regulations, and allowing states to means-test welfare programs – Fox News reports a big mistake:

Santorum’s speech went past 9 p.m., limiting local news organizations’ ability to highlight his 100-day agenda.

This isn’t the kind of mishap one wants when running neck-and-neck with Mitt Romney.

January 20th, 2012 at 1:31 pm
Holder’s Fast and Furious Scapegoat Fights Back

In what Fox News calls “the first big break in what has been a unified front in the [Eric Holder’s Justice Department’s] defense of itself in the [Fast and Furious] gun-running scandal,” the number two DOJ official in Arizona is claiming through his lawyer that Holder & Co. are making him the fall guy.

“Department of Justice officials have reported to the Committee that my client relayed inaccurate information to the Department upon which it relied in preparing its initial response to Congress. If, as you claim, Department officials have blamed my client, they have blamed him unfairly,” the letter to Issa says.

Read the entire article here.

November 23rd, 2011 at 6:13 pm
County-Level Secession Movements Growing

You know political differences are coming to a head when state and local leaders takes step – albeit unrealistic – to break away from misbehaving neighbors.  Earlier this year liberal Pima County made noise about seceding from Arizona.  A county official in conservative Inland California called for meetings to legally distance themselves from spendthrift Sacramento and the loony Left Coast.  Now, two Republican state lawmakers in Illinois have introduced a bill to divide Illinois into two states: liberal Cook County (home of Chicago), and the other 101 municipalities.  Claiming that “Chicago-style politics” are dominating all other concerns in the state, the GOP legislators want to part ways and limit the influence of Second City Mayor Rahm Emanuel to a smaller geographic area.

Will any of these ideas work?  Almost certainly not.  But the popularity of political separation just underscores how divided America is becoming.  That we’re still together is something to be thankful for, if not an occasion for perpetual rejoicing.

November 9th, 2011 at 9:05 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Holder’s “Fast and Furious” Defense
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

August 26th, 2011 at 7:12 pm
Arizona Sues Feds Over Voting Rights Act

With its tough anti-illegal immigration law headed to the Supreme Court, the State of Arizona is opening up another legal front in its 10th Amendment tussle with Eric Holder’s Justice Department.  NBC News reports that the issue this time is the Voting Rights Act:

Arizona is challenging the law’s requirement that the state seek Justice Department approval for any changes in how elections are conducted. Many states are subject to the law’s pre-clearance requirement, generally to remedy past restrictions that discouraged minority voting.

“Arizona is still penalized for archaic violations that were corrected with the implementation of bilingual ballots prior to the 1974 elections,” said the state’s Attorney General Tom Horne. He noted that in 1974, Arizona became the second state to elect a Hispanic governor.

In his response, Attorney General Holder showed how tone deaf he is to any claim of federal overreach:

Vowing to fight the challenge, Holder said the provisions challenged in this case, including the pre-clearance requirement, “were reauthorized by Congress in 2006 with overwhelming and bipartisan support. The Justice Department will continue to enforce the Voting Rights Act, including each of the provisions challenged today,” he said.

So, a law is constitutional because Congress reauthorized it with “overwhelming and bipartisan support”?  There isn’t a justice on the Supreme Court who has let that kind of vapid thinking dissuade him or her from overturning a law.

If that’s the best defense Holder can muster, Arizona may have found the perfect foil to (unwittingly) help it downsize the federal government.

August 11th, 2011 at 7:28 pm
Arizona Immigration Law on Its Way to Supreme Court

Politico reports that Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer has formally petitioned the United States Supreme Court to overturn the 9th Circuit’s opinion that important parts of the state’s tough immigration law (SB 1070) violate the U.S. Constitution.

Brewer said in May that she was “frustrated” by the court’s ruling and planned to appeal it.

“The bottom line is, is that everyone knows that the 9th Circuit has a reputation of being very, very liberal,” she said. “After deliberating and thinking about it, I said, ‘Let’s just go to the Supreme Court.’”

As usual, the outcome will probably hinge on the moderate views of Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Heaven help us.

July 13th, 2011 at 1:48 pm
Barone: New Reality in Immigration Debate

Michael Barone says that thanks to a sputtering economy, a growing Mexican middle class, and measures like Arizona’s e-Verify system that puts the onus of enforcement on employers, President Barack Obama’s push for immigration reform is behind the curve.  It would be far better if the federal government reacted to facts on the ground.

That means we can shift our immigration quotas to more highly skilled immigrants, as recommended by a panel convened by the Brookings Institution and Duke University’s Kenan Institute for Ethics and as done currently by Canada and Australia.

Such a change would be in line with the new situation. Mexican immigrants have tended to be less educated and lower-skilled than immigrants from other Latin or Asian countries. Lower Mexican immigration means lower low-skill immigration. Employers of such immigrants may have to adjust their business models.

Probably they are already doing so. But government adjusts more slowly.

Tell us about it.

May 27th, 2011 at 3:22 pm
Court Smacks Down Obama

In Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting yesterday, the Supreme Court obliterated the Obama administration’s ludicrous position (with apologies to the Chamber of Commerce, which lost its usually perspicacious way on this one) that a state may not withdraw a business license from employers who knowingly or intentionally hire illegal aliens. The whole controversy was nonsense.  The Chamber and Obama had argued that federal law prohibits states from sanctioning employers in that way, even though — get this — the law they cited explicitly allowed states to enforce rules against hiring illegals through “licensing and similar laws.”  In pursuit of its extremely pro-immigration ideological agenda — which will be put to an even bigger and more politically explosive test in another Arizona case next year — the administration argued that the exact words of a federal statute should be ignored in order to read that statute as preventing state action meant to dovetail with and complement, not undermine, those very same federal immigration laws. Writing for a 5-3 majority, Chief Justice Roberts concluded that no ambiguity exists at all: “the plain wording of the clause,” “on its face,” supported Arizona’s contention that it was operating entirely within the law.

As Ed Whelan noted at Bench Memos, Roberts got in a very sharp dig at the dissenting justices (and at the administration) by noting that two dissents read the clauses at issue in completely different ways. His footnote is worth quoting, with my bolded emphasis added:

JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR creates an entirely new statutory requirement: She would allow States to impose sanctions through“licensing and similar laws” only after a federal adjudication. Such a requirement is found nowhere in the text, and JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR does not even attempt to link it to a specific textual provision. It should not be surprising that the two dissents have sharply different views on how to read the statute. That is the sort of thing that can happen when statutory analysis is so untethered from the text.

As The Washington Times argued last December, a decision in favor of Arizona in this case means that in the more explosive case next year, “the administration’s argument… falls apart.” The Washington Times’ conclusion also stands: “States retain certain authority unless Congress expressly says otherwise. Arizona is right to insist that the Constitution is meant to limit federal power.”

Hans von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation notes some solace for businesses worried that they could lose their licenses over a mere mistake in hiring, rather than willful or flagrant violation of immigration laws: “As the Chief Justice pointed out, there is no sanction against employers for merely hiring unauthorized workers. The state law’s sanctions are only triggered if an employer hires such a worker intentionally, knowing that they are not authorized to be employed. An employer acting in good faith need not have any fear of being sanctioned, especially since they enjoy a safe harbor from liability if they use the federal E-Verify system to check on prospective employees.”

In a different piece, this from the Washington Examiner, von Spakovsky gives evidence of the practical reasons that the states’ authority in this regard is so important: The administration is flat-out refusing to enforce immigration laws on its own.

One can be moderate on the overall subject of immigration, supporting streamlined processes for legal immigration, while insisting that the law actually be enforced against those who break it. Culturally, too, legal immigrants (it stands to reason) are more willing to acclimate to American society and to our language, more willing to become more fully Americans as earlier waves of immigrants did; illegals tend (by my observation) to be more separatist, less assimilated, and even resentful. Is it too much to ask for the federal government to allow states to take reasonable steps to guard against the worst abuses from waves of unassimilated aliens, if the feds themselves won’t do it?

January 15th, 2011 at 6:26 pm
NLRB Pushing Card Check Through the Back Door

Here’s more proof the Obama Administration is bent on destroying the sovereignty of states.  The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is threatening to sue South Dakota, Utah, South Carolina, and, of course, Arizona, unless their attorneys general say new state laws protecting secret ballots for union elections are unconstitutional.

The NLRB construes its enabling legislation to allow employees to unionize if a majority signs cards stating that desire.  That process is called “card check” and allows union organizers to bypass secret ballots that protect the identities of those who don’t want the union.  All four states passed laws last November 2nd to guarantee workers in their borders of the right to a secret ballot.  Now, the NLRB says those laws conflict with current federal law, even though card check has not passed into legislation because it’s overwhelmingly opposed in Congress.

In effect, the pro-union forces running the NRLB are trying to do through administrative fiat what they can’t get passed through the legislative process.  Unless each state’s attorney general agrees with the NRLB in writing that the new law is unconstitutional, the NRLB will sue the states in federal court.  This is the same strategy the Obama Justice Department is using to challenge Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration law Senate Bill 1070.

But tortured legal arguments can’t trump common sense:

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said he believes the state is on solid ground. He plans to coordinate a response with the other three states.

“If they want to bring a lawsuit, then bring it,” Shurtleff said. “We believe that a secret ballot is as fundamental a right as any American has had since the beginning of this country. We want to protect the constitutional rights of our citizens.”

What’s next in Obamaland?  Test oaths?

H/T: Associated Press

January 11th, 2011 at 10:49 pm
Paul Krugman Officially Departs Polite Society
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In the world of punditry, the difference between an ideological hack and a graceful partisan can be granular. On a daily or weekly basis, it may be nearly impossible to discriminate between the two. After all, even the most vapid political mercenary can summon reasonable talking points through a Google search and even the most discriminating scribes can at times fall prey to intellectual tribalism.

The acid test usually comes in moments that require grace and restraint. The tragic shootings in Tucson over the weekend presented such a moment. And Princeton economist, New York Times columnist, and liberal paragon Paul Krugman failed the test.

Krugman immediately took to his blog at the Times to decry the environment of hate created by conservatives, despite the fact that no tangible aspect of the Arizona story supported his thesis. It was an utterly revolting spectacle that revealed a man whose optic for all of life is partisan politics. But don’t just take my word for it. The Economist, a magazine which prides itself as the publication of note amongst the brandy and cigars class, comes down as follows:

In a blog item on Saturday, before any significant details about Mr Loughner’s motivations had come to light, Paul Krugman wrote:

You know that Republicans will yell about the evils of partisanship whenever anyone tries to make a connection between the rhetoric of Beck, Limbaugh, etc. and the violence I fear we’re going to see in the months and years ahead. But violent acts are what happen when you create a climate of hate. And it’s long past time for the GOP’s leaders to take a stand against the hate-mongers.

This struck me as irresponsibly premature, and one might have thought that, given a little more time and information, Mr Krugman would change his tune, or at least turn down the volume. Nope. In today’s column on America’s alleged “climate of hate”, Mr Krugman reports that he’s been “expecting something like this atrocity to happen” since 2008, conjures in his fevered imagination a “rising tide of violence”, and spots his hated political foes behind it all:

[I]t’s the saturation of our political discourse—and especially our airwaves—with eliminationist rhetoric that lies behind the rising tide of violence.

Where’s that toxic rhetoric coming from? Let’s not make a false pretense of balance: it’s coming, overwhelmingly, from the right.

What’s more, unless the ranting right reins in the kind of talk that leaves Mr Krugman “with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach”, “Saturday’s atrocity will be just the beginning.” Welcome to crazytown, my friends, where it does not seem crazy to disgorge toxic, entirely evidence-free rhetoric about the mortal threat of toxic rhetoric. Does the man honestly think he’s helping?

December 10th, 2010 at 8:41 am
Podcast: Sheriff Discusses Arizona Immigration Law
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Cochise County (AZ) Sheriff Larry Dever, honorary co-chair of, discusses why he strongly supports Arizona’s immigration enforcement law and his amicus brief in opposition to lawsuits filed by the ACLU and the Obama Administration against Arizona and its sheriffs.

Listen to the interview here.

November 22nd, 2010 at 3:35 pm
Arizona Schools to Promote Health by Shaming Fat Kids
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An item from the Daily Caller:

Chubby elementary school children in Flagstaff, Ariz., have more than just bullies to worry about. If they’re too fat, their school will notify their parents.

Starting in the fall, students in the Flagstaff district will be weighed and measured at school. Students who are found to be overweight, marginally overweight, or underweight will have a letter sent home to their parents, which will include graphs showing a range of appropriate weights for a given age and height.

The Flagstaff District might want to consider placing a call to the TSA before implementing this policy. Americans have limited patience for inconvient and unnecessary big government. But when it’s humiliating and unnecessary … well, the pitchforks are on their way.

November 11th, 2010 at 12:22 pm
Conservatives Aim to Retake Texas House Speakership

As a former staff member in the Texas House of Representatives, I have an interest in news that the chamber may be headed for conservative leadership.  This morning, Rep. Ken Paxton (R-McKinney) announced his bid to unseat current Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio).  If successful, Paxton would be the third Republican Speaker in under three years, since Straus ascended to power by beating former Speaker (and my old boss) Tom Craddick (R-Midland) in 2009.

What does an intra-party fight in one of the reddest states in America mean for citizens outside the Lone Star State?  Plenty.

Texas is already the exemplar of low-tax, low-regulation state government.  Moreover, because the legislature only meets for 140 days every two years, Texas government has not had a chance to weigh in legislatively on issues like Arizona’s approach to illegal immigration and Virginia’s response to block implementation of ObamaCare.  With the kick-off of the legislative session next January, a more conservative Republican House majority will be able to make some big statements about the power of the 10th Amendment in our federal system.

That is, if the House is run by a true conservative.  Stay tuned…

September 14th, 2010 at 10:41 pm
Liberals Larding Up Defense Bill with Illegal Immigrant Giveaways
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Proving, even in the midst of election season, that there’s no depths to which Harry Reid won’t sink, CNN reports:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday he will add the DREAM Act, a controversial immigration measure, to a defense policy bill the Senate will take up next week.

The decision means the defense bill, which often passes with bipartisan support, will be home to two major, thorny political issues – the other being the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

Reid called the DREAM Act “really important” and said it should be passed because it provides a path to citizenship for young illegal immigrants who go to college or serve in the military. DREAM is an acronym for Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act.

So, let’s get this straight: at a time when illegal immigration has become such an epidemic that portions of Arizona have basically ceded their sovereignty — and at a time when federal entitlements are hemorrhaging out of control — the Senate Majority Leader wants to prioritize honor roll amnesty and a new entitlement for those who are here illegally (the DREAM Act allows illegal immigrants in American colleges to receive student loans and work study money)? And he’s willing to hold funding the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan hostage to it? The DREAM Act may be “really important” to Reid. To the rest of us, it looks “really irrelevant” and “really destructive”.