Congressman Grijalva

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Arizona Democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva talks about immigration and the latest issues in Congress.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Good evening. I'm Jose Cardenas. Thank you for joining us on horizonte. Latino organizations announce hot lines for people to report what they believe to be incidents of racial profiling. And we talk to Arizona congressman Raul Grijalva about immigration and other issues in congress. These stories next on Horizonte.

>> Jose Cardenas:
The controversy continues over Maricopa county sheriff Joe Arpaio's immigration hotline. The hotline was set up for people to report information about undocumented immigrants. There have been more than 1,000 calls to this hotline. This is all part of an expanded immigration enforcement plan arpaio unveiled last month. Critics say it promotes racial profiling. Larry lemmons recently spoke with sheriff arpaio about the hotline.

>> Larry Lemmons:
Sheriff, Latino leaders have had a lot of consternation about the hotline saying it would lead to racial profiling and unrest among the immigrant community here. What's your response to that?

>> Joe Arpaio:
Why don't they let us do it and see what happens? We are not going out locking up people knocking doors in. We develop cases. Whether it's drugs or illegal immigration, we develop the case, and we get the probable cause. I don't think there's any concern.

>> Larry Lemmons:
Could you walk us through how this would work. Say, for example, I don't know, I'm walking down the street and I see people that I, they look Hispanic to me. They are speaking Spanish. Is that enough for me to call an immigration hotline?

>> Joe Arpaio:
No, but we get phone calls, some cranks all the time, whether it's our animal abuse hotline which we have, drug hotline, people complain about their neighbors, that they are selling drugs because there are six cars out there and they don't look too well we get this all the time. So we'll iron it out and see what the intelligence comes up with.

>> Larry Lemmons:
So, say I do call, what would be the trigger, as it were, for you to take action on that? What do you do after I call?

>> Joe Arpaio:
Depends what the information is, what the priority is, and how we develop it. I am not going to give you all our secrets how we develop investigations but we do obtain probable cause. And I hope that everybody understands that.

>> Larry Lemmons:
What's your precedent on being able then to look for probable cause for people?

>> Joe Arpaio:
It all depends. I am hoping to get some information on murders. We got 13 murders of illegals that were executed out on interstate 10. I don't see a big uproar, why does sheriff hasn't solved 13 murders of illegals? If one murder occurred in a certain city, it would be in the headlines. That happened two years ago. I still haven't forgotten that so I am hoping to get tips on that hotline for murderers, for smugglers, and a lot of different other crimes involving illegal immigration.

>> Larry Lemmons:
Finally, what would you say to the Hispanic community here in the method met phoenix area who might be worried about the immigration hotline and the message it sends out?

>> Joe Arpaio:
I would say to the Hispanic community, have some confidence in this sheriff. I no he there's certain groups that don't but I know a lot of people, the Hispanics, that do and see how it works. Don't go criticizing us until they can find we did something wrong pursuant to that hotline. Why is there such excitement? We are not going to go out because someone calls and go into a store or go on a street corner. We are not going to do that. So I think they ought to just watch right now and see how this pans out.

>> Larry Lemmons:
Just one more thing then. What should they be watching for? What should people be watching for to justify them calling the immigration hotline? What would you suggest?

>> Joe Arpaio:
Well, I would think that because all the allegations are it's going to be racial profiling. Let's see what happens. Let's see if they can make that case, how we conduct our professionalism and how we conduct our enforcement activities with probable cause and then see what happens. They're arresting drop houses here all over the place just knocking on the door. No one seems to be complaining about that. About probable cause. But we'll be concentrating on that issue, too.

>> Jose Cardenas:
The sheriff's hotline has led to a counter movement by Hispanic civil rights leaders. They have set up their own hot lines to report possible incidents of racial profiling. Here now to talk to us about these racial profiling hot lines is Lydia Hernandez, correct director of the Arizona coalition for immigrant rights.

>> Lydia Hernandez:
Thanks for having me here.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Let me begin by asking the sheriff's question, which is why don't they let us set it up and see what happens? Why haven't you waited to see what the results of the hotline are?

>> Lydia Hernandez:
Because we didn't need organizations like ourselves didn't need a hotline or the establishment of such a hotline for us to understand what's happening in the community. What sheriff arpaio, sheriff volunteers or deputies have been doing for the last few years has been in certain segment of our community going after certain cars and detaining and bringing them into the system, being arrested. What this hotline does is it just gives you a license or the opportunity, it just opens you up for the, to be able to further, further go after these communities or folks. We are seeing large numbers of not only with the sheriff's department, making arrest within this community but also with the phoenix police department. So you are seeing other law enforcement kind of get in with the environment that it's creating, it's ok to do this. So there's, I am going to say a campaign, if you will, or it's just the excitement in the air of everything that's happening. Let's go enforce immigration.

>> Jose Cardenas:
So you are saying profiling has already been going on and that's why you are concerned about the hotline?

>> Lydia Hernandez:
Right, right, this is something we know -- we work directly with the communities. We know the types of detentions and arrests and how they are being made. A lot of those are routine traffic stops, are the type of stops you are getting with this segments of our community.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Now, according to the sheriff's office, they have already gotten 1,000 calls. And doesn't that indicate that quite a few people think this is a good thing to do?

>> Lydia Hernandez:
Well, yes. I am going to say we have gotten a lot of the percentages of the calls we have been getting has been from the same segment of the community that's been calling him. They are calling us as well. Thanking us for sheriff arpaio's work but this only further helps me understand the fervor what's going on right now with the anti-immigrant sentiment right now.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Let's talk a little bit about the hotlines that your organization has established and the other organizations.

>> Lydia Hernandez:
We decided to do together is community organizations got together to counter arpaio's hotline, we want to start documenting for ourselves. We want to be proactive. We wanted to document the stories because we know that a lot of those cases are related to racial profiling. When you are, when you are making routine traffic stops that don't exist, or don't have a case to build on but the fact is that these people are being detained, later found out they don't have a driver's license later found out they don't have any documentation to be legally in the us., that's when they are detained and deported. What I am saying is, if you are going to enforce immigration law do it the right way. Don't use your authority to detain people to pull people over on routine traffic stops. Let's be up front about it.

>> Jose Cardenas:
At least in theory, anyway, the sheriff's hotline is supposed to be people reporting conduct that they observe and it's not the police making pretextual traffic stops.

>> Lydia Hernandez:
We would hope and we have confidence it was working before. There's a crime in process, you call. You call the phoenix police department. You call sheriff Joe Arpaio, when something, when you know that a law has been broken or they are in violation of that. These routine traffic stops are not part of that. Or coming in because a neighbor has complained and asking for further documentation and going in after what, you know, what you know that they can provide to you, the excuse is being used. So they are going into -- that happens predominantly in Latino communities. We have the sheriff arpaio's vehicles being positioned on the only entrance, I am going to say two entrances into fountain hills. And you stand there for a while you are able to determine that they go after certain cars. Not after the general community, I am going to say, mainstream community.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Let's talk about right now, though, exactly what your group has done in terms of setting up the hotline. When did it get started running and how is it working?

>> Lydia Hernandez:
We started Monday, officially we started Monday, taking, opened up our lines. There's three organizations. The coalition for migrant rights. Preto mansana and miran a sin frontera And we have got the purpose of it is to document --

>>Jose Cardenas:
Each organization has its own hotline.

>> Lydia Hernandez:
Has its own hotline and volunteers staff getting those messages as they come in. What we are looking for is, and for cases that we can document and refer to attorneys. Attorneys will be making reviews, making follow-up phone calls. And submitting those to the proper authorities we are working with. We are just doing intake. But we are friendly venue. Really wanting to be proactive and documenting those cases because they do happen. I wish we could, we were in a society where I could say, you know, that's not happening, I am confident. We have, you know, we have -- I don't think sheriff Joe Arpaio has full control over what his deputies do and how they overstep their bounds and what they are using to judge who they determine to pull over or not.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Now, so you have had four days of experience. How many calls have you gotten? And just break down roughly what kinds of calls they have been.

>> Lydia Hernandez:
I am going to say that we collectively because we haven't met yet to filter the information, but we have got I am going to say 250 calls in total. And they are a variety. I think we are getting to know more of what we knew is out there but a lot of people complaining about abuse, about other things. We have gotten I am going to say a total of 10 to 12 calls where we are following through and sending those cases to the attorneys.

>>Jose Cardenas:
Are these for all three organizations or just for the coalition?

>> Lydia Hernandez:
Combination of the three organizations. I think we broke it down to five, three, two, and other. So I am going to say no more than 12 that are being followed through. Whether they will be actual cases attorneys can use to prove what's going on, I don't know. We have yet to determine that.

>>Jose Cardenas:
I want to come back and discuss some of the ones you are familiar with through your organization. But what are the kinds of calls are you getting from people generally that are part of that 250 calls you have gotten so far?

>> Lydia Hernandez:
Like I said, the -- I am going to say -- we are very well balanced between general community members calling in to support arpaio. I believe there was some confusion because we also had folks calling in, telling us why are we establishing being a Latino organization, establishing a hotline to report these folks? Some misunderstanding there. But I am going to say the majority of them are, which is sad to hear, is the exploitation, the cases where the employers are abusing of them, who have knowingly hired undocumented and knowing that a law has not come into effect, saying you have a job here. But you are going to be working more hours, so there is a lot of exploitation I would say extortion cases, horrible cases that are going on that are not directly tied to sheriff Joe Arpaio.

>>Jose Cardenas:
Let's talk about the ones you have gotten so far that do deal with police conduct. Can you describe a case or two so far?

>> Lydia Hernandez:
One routine traffic stops. There are two related to that. One of which is a sad situation because you have got a future leader, a Latina young girl, 18 years old, who was driving, was on her way back to north high school. She just graduated. And was pulled over. If you remember the storms that were happen early in the week? On Tuesday, she was pulled over because she didn't have her lights on. Now, this is a 10:00 a.m. but yet she was pulled over. And she was asked for her driver's license which she did not have. She was able to produce a Mexican driver's license and for some reason, I am checking into the training the officer had, but made a determination and said, you know, this i.d. is fake. And arrested her, detained her and because we are the only county that has the contract with ice, now the judge dismissed the charges.

>>Jose Cardenas:
And the charge was what?

>> Lydia Hernandez:
Forgery of an instrument or offering a forged instrument so fraud, giving her a felony 1 count.

>> Jose Cardenas:
How many years is this woman been in the united states?

>> Lydia Hernandez:
She's been here 10 years. She's 18. She came in when she was eight years old. She knows nothing has no connection with Mexico. Her whole family is here. She is an up and coming leader and I say that because she was an outstanding student. Recipient of several scholarships, a straight a student, an honor student. And was minding her own business, driving.

>> Jose Cardenas:
And now she is about to be deported.

>> Lydia Hernandez:
She is about to be deported.

>> Jose Cardenas:
I am afraid we are out of time. We are certainly going to want to revisit further results. Thank you for joining us on Horizonte.

>> Lydia Hernandez:
Thank you.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Raul Grijalva represents district seven in the u.s. house of representatives. It includes all of Yuma county, parts of la paz, Maricopa, pinal and Santa Cruz counties. He is the only congressman representing seven separate native American tribes. Marcos Najera sat down with the Congressman to talk about immigration and other issues.

>> Marcos Najera:
Thank you for joining us here on Horizonte. I want to start right away with the topic that's on everyone's mind, immigration. This year the u.s. senate didn't have enough votes to pass federal immigration legislation. What do you think happened ?

>> Raul Grijalva:
There wasn't enough support there. Actually, it was a pretty resounding defeat in terms of trying to get to 60 to end the filibuster. So after that, I think the senate decided that it was, the idea of comprehensive reform, the strive act or even what the compromises the senate had come up with, that they were, they had no political traction inside the senate. There was no companion legislation at this point in the House of Representatives so effectively, the idea of comprehensive reform doesn't have any legs on it right now. And quite honestly, in terms of comprehensive reform, not a very bright future with regards to congress.

>>Marcos Najera:
A lot of people feel that congress's failure to act has forced the state to step up and of course in Arizona we have the employer sanctions law. How do you feel about the state stepping forward?

>> Raul Grijalva:
Well, I think that was one of the motivations for us to pass something comprehensive. I have always been a supporter that this is a federal responsibility, a federal law. A jurisdiction along the border that is a federal responsibility. And by us not acting, it gives the opportunity and the political rationale for states to begin to act on their own like Arizona. And I disagree entirely with the employer sanctions. I was disappointed the governor signed it. Because they are putting the cart before the horse. Until you have verification system, until you have a system by which employees, employers can feel secure that their verification system is not going to create a criminal legal liability for them, then why put the cart up first? And I think it's going to be very, very difficult to enforce. But the bush administration will also be in the next 30 days, pushing the federal sanctions of it. Because their announcement dealt almost entirely with the issue of enforcement.

>>Marcos Najera:
What do you think the employer sanctions are? What will that do to local businesses in your opinion?

>> Raul Grijalva:
It's hard to gauge. I think those, those businesses that depend on manual labor primarily and don't have a secure verification system, and are going to have let go a lot of people because they can't verify with all legal certainty, as to the legal status of that worker, there's going to be a shortage of labor for them and economically they are going to go through some tough times.

>> Marcos Najera:
For a community is it creating a sense of fear? What's your view?

>> Raul Grijalva:
You know, I think this whole last six months of the debate over immigration was very distressing for me, the last eight months to be exact. You hear it, the tone here with Mr. Pierce, the tone where other people in congress and the united states congress. Where the tone has become not just illegal immigration, but the tone has crossed over into a whole other perspective, a whole other territory. And that tone carries with it intolerance. That tone carries with it stereotyping with a broad brush anybody that happens to be Latino. It's suddenly classified in this invasion, taking over our country, draining our society, not contributing to. And all these buzzwords and key words that have been used in this debate. Unfortunately, added to do tone of division in this country, added to the sense of desperation and fear, and is creating a great deal of resentment.

>> Marcos Najera:
You know, 10 years ago, we had the chandler roundups and this is the 10-year anniversary of it this summer. Do you worry we could return to that spirit of intolerance again?

>> Raul Grijalva:
I think -- I really believe that spirit of intolerance is bubbling really, really strong right now. And -- and I think you are going to see instances akin to chandler and others as we move forward. Because how do you distinguish between who isn't and who is here documented illegal in this country? How do you make those distinctions without impugning a whole group of people? That's a difficult issue for law enforcement. It's a difficult issue for the sanctions. It's a difficult issue for border patrol. It's a difficult issue, period. And how do you do that? And I have not heard a logical, rational response on how that's going to be done.

>> Marcos Najera:
It's a controversy that's brought a lot of people out to the streets in immigration marches and a lot you participated in. It seems, though, the most recent march didn't draw the numbers the previous marches had drawn. What do you think that's about, is the controversy waning?

>> Raul Grijalva:
I don't know if the controversy is waning as much as I think the pro immigrant groups, people that were pushing comprehensive legislation, spent too much time talking to themselves and not talking to the public. And debating the nuances of the strive act and debating the -- where a period should be or should it be a "may" or a "shall" in legislation. And the consequence of that very internal talking to each other is that you didn't talk and communicate to the public that the theoretically, you are representing. I worry about that sometimes. When there's an important issue, it becomes about who gets credit as opposed to who gets the job done. And I hope that people that are concerned about this issue realize that it's going to take a collective effort and there is no individual hero in this question. It's too tough, too vexing. Too complex and it needs multilevel of readership, not just, we don't need a messiah. We need some leadership on this issue right now.

>> Marcos Najera:
And you mentioned the strive act. Can you talk to us a little bit about the strive act?

>> Raul Grijalva:
Good. I was telling some people that were unhappy with the strive act on one end or the other on the political spectrum that it was a compromise. And that's the political process in congress. Somebody said it's akin to making sausage. It's not very pretty and the product is not very pretty but that's law making and it was a compromise. A very tough six-year path to legalization. A new worker program that dealt with the realities of a needed work force. Not a wanted, a needed work force without displacing and without lowering wages. The dream act was part of it. So it was comprehensive. Was it perfect? Absolutely not. Did it have faults in it from one perspective or another? Yes, it did. But that was an opportunity that I hope within a year, two maybe, that opportunity rises up again and we get a chance to debate it rationally and not debate it irrationally the way we have done the last six months.

>> Marcos Najera:
Recently we had a group of students who just completed a hunger strike supported the dream act. Do you think that's has an impact on them in terms of the worry and the stress?

>> Raul Grijalva:
All the debates we are having, the dream act to me is probably symbolizes the American value more than anything else. These are kids that you have told, as we were told by or parents, do good in school, get good grades, don't get in trouble with the law. Keep your nose clean. And at the end of that process there will be something better for you. These are these kids and at the end of the line, there's no opportunity for them. I think it speaks probably emotionally to what is great about this nation. That if you work hard, you do what you are supposed to do, something better will happen to you. And I think it's wrong for us to close door on those kids who have been outstanding students and now fine the door shut.

>> Marcos Najera:
Critics say ultimately they are not citizens.

>> Raul Grijalva :
They are here by no choice of their own. Their parents made a decision. To come here without authorization to work. And brought their children with them. These kids have grown up in this country they have gone to first, second, and third grade with their citizen peers their whole life. They have no connection back to their parents' home country. They are as American as the kid in the next desk. And there's a special circumstance, it's a different circumstance and there's a different history to this issue. And you have got to separate the two. and when you separate the two, you understand the legitimacy of their issue for the dream act.

>> Marcos Najera: congressman, thank you. Switching gears now, let's talk a little bit about the fire season in your district. It's been a hot summer. Are you concerned?

>> Raul Grijalva: yeah. We have to throw a lot of the rain and the monsoons and lately have been very welcome in southern Arizona and in the state. Today we are going to be meeting with land managers from across the state. The position I hold now is chairman of the committee on public lands forest and national parks and so the issue of fire and fire prevention is important. The forest service is probably spending some people facetiously call it the fire service now because a lot of the resources and anticipation in going into suppression. I would like to see some real attention go into prevention. On urban interface, some necessary clearing that has to occur, and so as we go forward, I think suppression has to be the first response of a necessary response.

>>Marcos Najera: is it a problem the president's 2008 fiscal budget cut funds?

>> Raul Grijalva: yeah, that was part of the hearing. Healthy forest initiative which is his piece of legislation, called for a certain level of funding to do suppression and then go into the critical part of prevention and safety and health issues. When you cut the forest service, you are essentially cutting the fire prevention and fire preparedness. Short sighted, and particularly for us out here in the west, a very, very dangerous move for us that live out here.

>> Marcos Najera:
Congressman Grijalva, thank you for joining us on Horizonte.

>> Raul Grijalva:
A pleasure. Thank you very much for the invitation.

>> Jose Cardenas:
That's our show for tonight. I am Jose Cardenas. Next week we will be back, same day, 7:30. We will be talking then about the Latino voting effort. I hope you will join us. In the meantime I thank you for watching our show tonight. Enjoy the rest of your evening.

Raul Grijalva: U.S. Congressman;

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