Thursday, July 1, 2010

Wong wrong on turning off the lights

Thursday morning President Barack Obama spoke on the “moral imperative” to enact comprehensive immigration reform. While his moderate plan was a welcome sign from a White House that has placed immigration on the back burner, it came in the midst of a politically charged debate over immigration. At times the discussion over immigration has gotten ugly and been exploited for petty political gain as in the case of one Arizonan political hopeful.

Four-term state Representative Barry Wong is running for the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC)- an elected panel that oversees public utility issues. In an interview with the Arizona Republic, Wong came upon a far from brilliant idea: cutting off electricity and water to residences with illegal immigrants. "There is a cost ratepayers shouldn't have to bear because of the illegal-immigrant population," said Wong who also claimed that the costs of checking customers for their legal documents would be offset by potential savings.

As expected Wong’s proposal was soundly blasted by immigrants rights activists and even by fellow Republicans running for the ACC. Yet if Wong were elected he would have the power to commission a study on his idea and support from at least two of the five members of the ACC to in order to carry his plan out.

Perhaps E.J. Montini of The Arizona Republic said it best:
Any day now I'd expect some political candidate to suggest bus drivers and light-rail engineers check the immigration status of anyone attempting to use public transit.
To paraphrase a defunct TV show, politicians say the darndest things.

Online Sources- Voice of America, Reuters, The Arizona Republic, New York Daily News, Wikipedia

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