State lawmakers are working on our state budget shortfall and changes to the employer sanctions law. Hear what Governor Napolitano has to say about these topics and more on HORIZONTE.
I'm Richard Ruelas, in for Jose Cardenas. Tonight on "Horizonte," Arizona meets a federal judge's deadline and increases funding for English Language Learning programs. A coalition of business leaders and the governor wants to ask voters to approve a sales tax increase to pay for statewide transportation. And hear what the governor has to say about legislative changes to the sanctions bill. Up next on "Horizonte." There is still no solution to this year's state budget shortfall. The governor puts her veto stamp on two abortion bills and until a virtual fence is operational a. Request sent to homeland security secretary Michael Chertoff by the governor to keep National Guard troops at the border. Here to discuss that and other state concerns is Arizona's governor, Janet Napolitano. Thanks for joining us as always.
I guess maybe we can start with immigration. That always seems like a good place to start. You said you didn't want to be a referee in the match between phoenix mayor phil gordon and sheriff joe arpaio. I guess we can look at the police department that is under your control, the state department of public safety. Have you told director vanderpool maybe what arpaio is doing a good idea?
What we have been doing through the state department of public safety, we have cross-trained some officers. But they're really working the target Theed way on gang-related issues where there are illegal immigrants involve in the gang. Human smuggling case and also cases where we are interrupting the flow of money between Arizona to human smuggling and drug trafficking organizations, primarily in Mexico. And that has worked very, very well. It is a good role for state law enforcement. But in terms of massive sweeps and using traffic stops as an excuse to stop people, we're not doing that.
What would you say to some people watching and say, Guadalupe or parts of north phoenix or mesa, chandler, who might be afraid of entering out -- venturing out of their house?
I think the concern is that an eagerness to enforce the immigration law is lapping over into racial profiling. And anyone is in danger of being stopped or what have you because of the color of their skin as opposed to a suspicion they are here illegally. And that is a concern that i share. I expect all law enforcement in arizona, whatever level, to abide by the constitution, not to -- when i was attorney general we adopted a racial profiling policy that was signed on to by am the leaders of law enforcement in the state of arizona. And so in this void of federal inaction with the lack of federal comprehensive reform, which is really what we need, we are running the risk of lopping over from local enforcement of immigration law into racial profiling.
I guess the role in guarding against that comes from the feds -- do you see a role in state government in looking into racial profile?
Well, the attorney general's office has a civil rights division. But the mayor of phoenix has asked the justice department to specifically look into this through the f.b.i. and that's really what they are designed to do. That's an expertise that they have. I used them in the past when i was the u.s. attorney for arizona, called on them when i was the attorney general of arizona. Those are serious allegations made by the mayor. They need to be looked into, and my expectation of the sheriff is that he should and will cooperate fully with any inquiry made.
You mentioned some of the task forces, gangs, and i know there's been some look nothing wire transfers that -- the damming warrants?
Look into the money transfers, those have been successful in stopping smuggling operations?
Very. And we'll recruit millions of dollars that would otherwise go into illegal criminal activity. And so let's get back to basics. Federal immigration law is federal. It should be enforced by federal immigration agents. We don't have enough federal immigration agents and the law became unenforced and unenforceable. We need a better law and then we need federal resources to enforce it. Until those two things happen, city and states all around the united states are being called on to do something on immigration because people are entitled to a fair immigration law that's being enforced. The problem that's been created by the federal vacuum, have you a lot of variation, even within the state of arizona, and you really do run the risk if you're not very careful of lapping from immigration enforcement into racial profiling.
I guess maybe on a public relations standpoint, with the state doing so much and seeming to go after smucking organizations, why is so much attention being spent on -- and why does joe arpaio get a lot of attention from the media and the public on stopping people with busted taillights and broken windshields?
Well, you're in the media, you're probably a better -- i should ask you that question. Look at what other counties are doing. This is not common to other counties.
You talk about the need for federal action. We'll get a new president in november. You've endorsed barak obama. Have you discussed with him, do you think he's the best qualified among the three leading candidates to help arizona out with this problem?
I actually think among the three candidates, there's a pretty good consensus about what needs to happen. Mccain will stick with where he was before he became candidate mccain. The need to have some sanctions against those already in the country, but what do you do then in the need to increase enforcement resources. And those are things senator obama will support. The question is who can get something through this congress that really didn't have the strength to take on this volatile issue in an election year. I think my view is on this and a whole host of issues, i think obama is a new kind of leader who has the best shot at getting it done.
Again, with some of the federal inaction falling on the state, senator jon kyle was on "horizon" last month and he was asked about the thoughts on states being reimbursed for incarceration of undocumented immigrants. We were going to roll a piece of that interview we had.
>>about 950 billion dollars a year, to be specific. That's the bill that senator feinstein and i got passed. It's authorized, but i doubt congress will appropriate the money to reimburse the states to that degree. What we're talking about is the states bear a large burden. When illegal immigrants commit crimes, they end up doing time primarily in state facilities that costs the states money. The federal government has seen an obligation in the past to at least reimburse part of that money. 20 to 30%. At the level we're talking about it would be closer to 40 or 50%. That still results in the states having a large cost here.
>> 40-50%? That's --
>> i don't know where he says we're getting reimbursed 20-30%. I think it's less than 10%. This is a statutory federal law. The federal government is supposed to stay the state for the cost of incorrespond rating illegal immigrants. I recently sent the attorney general of the united states yet another bill, the seventh bill i have sent him since i've been governor. This one was over $450 million that the u.s. owes the taxpayers of arizona for these costs. And recognize, this is real impact. If you took what we had saved in our state budget in our rainy day fund and we got paid that $450, we would have erase the budget deficit. That's all we'd need to do. It's a huge amount of money. It is very frustrating to see our state continue to bear this burden unfairly.
>> and it seemed like although senator kyl and senator feinstein looked like they introduced a bill, they even saw they don't think they have a chance of convincing congress of passing it.
>> no. They've tried it before, and i think in part because this is an issue that affects border states more than states in the interior of the united states or on the northern border of the united states. As do you through, money decisions are made, this one gets dropped off the table protest fast. But it's been a disappointment to me that president bush in his own budget proposals has always zeroed out that amount, even though he's a former border state governor. And those full well the cost the states are being asked to impose.
>> another thing you're asking the federal government to continue is keeping national guard troops on the border through the summer. If you heard anything back?
>> nothing good. I think their design is to keep drawing down the national guard and recognize the national guard were there to offload nondirect enforcement responsibilities so the border patrol could use the agents it does have to focus on interdicting illegal immigrants. And it has worked well. The numbers showed an immediate improvement. At our border which is called operation jump start, it was one of the first governors in the country to call for this. And now, we were supposed to get over the course of the last 18 months a dramatic increase in border patrol agents, plus the installation of a virtual fence and other things so that when the national guard was pulled back these other resource would be in place. They'rer in able to liar and train enough border patrol agents to meet their quotas, so they missed that mark. The virtual fence has -- is virtually nonexistent. And maybe it will at some point. I actually think the theory is good, i just think the technology is more difficult than people thought to me it makes no sense to pull the national guard until the substitutions are there. But on this i have been unpersuasive to our federal colleagues.
>> the virtual fence works on the supply side. On the demand side you signed an employer sanctions bill. Describe the changes that have been proposed and some of the changes that will be enacted.
>> when i signed it i said this bill isn't perfect. It has some issues. For example, if you have a business that has multiple places of doing business and one is found to have repeatedly hired illegal immigrants and the others are fine, do all of them have to get shut down if one is shut down? How do you deal with employees that were already on board prior to the effective date of the state law? That's another issue. How do you deal with critical infrastructure, what happens if you have a nursing home that is found to have twice intentionally, intentionally, violated our immigration laws? You shut down the nursing home, where are those people toesed -- supposed to go? Those are the kinds of things the legislature is now addressing, and i'm hopeful that they will come to a reasonable product and it will get to my desk.
>> are you surprised we haven't seen a prosecution under the sanctions law yet? That we haven't seen the county bring -- it.
>> would be the county. The enforcement authority was given to the counsel phys. I think it demonstrates talking about these kinds of cases is a lot different than actually having the evidence to bring these kinds of cases. So i think the doom sayers when the law was passed about, it's going to result in massive shut downs of arizona businesses, i think the law was crafted not to do that. Having evidence of somebody intentionally avthe immigration law, is different than just alleging they do.
>> i guess speaking with your legal background, that bar the law sets at two of knowingly hiring is pretty strong.
>> it is. And i knew this as i signed the bill. I supervised the prosecution of well over 6,000 illegal immigration cases. I'm sure there are some cases in the works but not the wholesale shut-downs that were predicted. I will say what businesses want is predictability. What constitutes a complaint, for example. I think what we want is business to adhere to our immigration law and make it as easy as possible for them to do so. Some of the resistance to these common sense issues are ill taken because i think employers need to know we want the immigration laws enforced, we expect them to do that, but here -- we're not going to subject them to basically arbitrary action.
>> we're not going to change the rules every year.
>> one thing that hasn't been changed is the mandate for new employees to go through the basic pilot program through the federal system to check their social security numbers. Have you seen that having any effect on employment or the immigrant population?
>> no, i haven't. This is the so-called e-verify system. There were a lot of concerns raised about that. I had put state government and our businesses in contracts with us, you've got to verify legal residency. Did i that years ago. And so we're probably the biggest users of the e-verify system in the state and it has not been a problem. We run probably 400 checks on a monthly basis. And it's quick, it's smooth, and for the businesses in this state, if they want to avoid the risks of prosecution, if they use e-verify, that's part of their process, they pretty much have a safe harbor.
>> i guess there's a court case involving english language learners. We get stick in the weeds pretty quick because so it's confusing, the most recent appropriation of 40 million came through. You allowed it to become law without 84 signature. Describe why you didn't veto it and also describe why you didn't just sign it.
>> the procedure of the case is complicated, but the point of the case is not. We have students in our system that come from non-english speaking families. And they're not all illegal. The vast majority are here legally. They need to learn to read, write, and speak english. We need to fund their ability to do so. And that is the genesis of this lawsuit that's taken, what, 12 or 15 years. We have been subject to sanctions for not complying with federal court orders held up on appeal. And i let this $40 million appropriation go so we wouldn't have fines imposed on the state, and i want the money to go into e.l.l. but i didn't -- that's why i let it go. Go ahead and take the $40 million n. My view. But i didn't sign it because i don't think it solves all of the issues. For example, it doesn't say how the money should be distributed to school districts. The way the department of education has it set up, we have school districts where we know there are thousands of students who need english language learner instruction who are getting basically no money and some school districts have almost no students getting a lot of money. So it's -- the methodology is bizarre.
>> if they had been able to get federal money that money gets deducted from the state --
>> that's another problem. The federal courts have told us you can't do that. That's called supplanting. That's against the law. And they haven't solved the issue. And i think the $40 million in the end is probably not going to be enough. Based on the actual date from the school districts themselves. And so those things all still need to be addressed by the legislature.
>> and this all comes from a consent to create -- this was back in 2000, as attorney general you agreed to i guess the part of the reason of settling aa case might be to avoid lengthy court battles. Any regrets about that consent decree? Do you think arizona had a case to be made?
>> no. It wasn't, and when i let the first english language learner bill go into law without my signature it became clear the legislature -- the basic philosophy the majority of the legislature was they didn't want to pay any money to teach these students. They felt it was not something the taxpayers should have to bear. That is a point of view and we can respect it as that. It just happens to be one that doesn't comply with the law.
>> we brought along another clip, moving to the state budget. The state treasurer held a news conference and described -- i guess you called him chicken little.
>> the governor didn't like the reports on the numbers of spending we've seen so far, and we're the bank. Every dollar the state collects no, matter where it comes from, has to be deposited, every dollar that goes out the door comes from us. So we see all the money coming and going. We're trying to warn the legislature they've got a problem, and the governor, if they don't pass a budget pretty soon.
>> your thoughts, when you described him as chicken little, you thought he might have been raising some fears. What do you have -- as a response to that, what do you think of what he said?
>> he was -- he made his announcement in a press conference right before my weekly press conference as opposed to a letter or something else with legislative leadership. You don't have a press conference for that. He has his public relations moment, that's fine. And he calculated his numbers wrong, and he is the bank in 8. About he does not know all of the things that have been going on since september to deal with state spending. He himself has said since that press conference, oh, it's a lot slower. Yes, didn't i tell you it was going to happen? So he has a ministerial function. On the other hand, the point he is making, which is to say this legislature needs to get off its dime, if i can use that phraseology, and pass a real budget for 2008-2009, one that i can sign that is a comprehensive budget. I set aside almost my whole calendar for the past weeks to try to get something through, and i have yet to get a comprehensive counteroffer to mind. I don't see any process to get to a comprehensive bipartisan budget. There's a lot of -- a lot of speeches, a lot of rhetoric, but this requires hard decision and hard number chopping it.
>> seems every time we get into a budget battle this, one being one of the tougher ones because of the deficit, there's a laundry list of social service programs that end up beak at least introduced as possible cuts. Can we get through this without severe cuts to social service programs?
>> we're going to have to. In a down economy, the demand for safety net programs goes up. More people are getting health care through access and they're entitled to it by voter initiative. We have greater demand. I had a presentation the other day, demand on the food bank is up, demand on other stress areas are up. So the demand goes up when the imhe goes down. This legislature has had from me since january a spending plan i have adjusted as revenue numbers have gone down. It is balanced, it protects education, makes sure we keep moving forward. And that plan has been before them. So you will also hear a critic, the governor's been late, whatever. I haven't been late. They had everything by january 14th. We wait, we wait, they wanted me to defer the appropriations process. I deferred. They wanted me to wait for this. I waited. I'm tired of waiting. I think the people of arizona night the legislature to put this as their true top priority.
>> and we'll wrap up -- we can get the -- there's a moth in the studio. You're meeting with the governor of sonora next week. What raw going to be talking about?
>> it's informal. He and i meet in his staff and my staffs talk too a regular basis about that issue involving the safety and security of that border, the lawful commerce that needs to be able to go back and forth across that border. Issues with the ports, issues with food inspection, animal inspection, issues with tourism, tourists going back and forth. Important to his state, important to our state as well. In the course of that what happens when you work together, you become friends and we have, and he's going to be in town friday. One of the things we're going to do is go to the opera.
>> nice. Symphony hall is a beautiful spot.
>> it is.
>> essentially we'll get -- eventually we'll get a budget passed. Summer vacation plans?
>> no summer vacation plans, but my key focus is with the legislature. I've been quiet, come on guys, we dock. This we've done it every year i've been governor. Their members are receipt tivoli uneducated about what's in the budget and what isn't. That's why you have members --
>> is it the leaders meeting essentially?
>> yes. Leaders have been meeting with me, and we've been meeting in such a way we're not exchanging numbers with the outside world. But they're not exchanging numbers with their own members either. I don't think they're giving me numbers their own members would approve of, much less that i can negotiate to or from. So we need to get them into a process that gets us a budget.
>> i guess when you talk about a budget that you would be willing to sign, is it your sense that arizonan was prefer borrowing to cuts?
>> my sense is that arizonans understand that when you don't have cash you don't pay cash for construction of buildings. Those are long-term capital assets and you have bonding for those. And just like everywhere else in the united states, and everywhere else in arizona, and if we need to keep building schools, which we do, at a clip of about 35 to 40 new schools per year, one of the ways we can keep doing that and balance our budget is to bond over the length of the schools so that in -- this is a fair thing, all -- everybody who is using those schools helps pay for them as opposed to the students in the classroom right now and we save the cash for what needs to go on in the classrooms right now.
>> we always appreciate your visits, governor. Thanks for joining us here on "horizonte."
>> thank you.
>> that is our show for tonight. Join us next thursday on "horizonte" when jose cardenas should be back. I'm richard ruelas substituting in. Have a good night.
In this segment:
Janet Napolitano:State Senator;
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