Arizona State Senate President Russell Pearce was the principal sponsor last year of SB 1070 and is the primary driver for a host of anti-immigrant bills wending their way through the legislature this month. In spite of ample evidence to the contrary, Pearce, like many restrictionists, claims to be anti-illegal immigration, not anti-immigrant.
What then to make of Russell Pearce‘s recent endorsement of a “moratorium” (i.e. cut-off) of legal immigration? Here is what he said recently at a panel discussion in Washington hosted by the right-wing legal group Judicial Watch:
I do think there ought to be a moratorium, maybe, until we get our act together. …We’re allowing people to come through without complete background checks, you know, we’re letting people overstay their visas. … Um, there ought to be a timeout all the way around until we get our arms around national security.
The “immigration moratorium” was originally proposed more than a decade ago by the hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). The moratorium envisions a complete halt to most forms of legal immigration for at least five years. FAIR likes to use the innocuous phrase “immigration time-out” to refer to a proposal that would make already long waits for families to be reunited at least five years longer.
Pearce has been very close to FAIR. His signature piece of legislation, SB 1070, was a product of FAIR attorney Kris Kobach‘s legal shop. The fact that Pearce, as well as other politicians on the right, are increasingly talking about what could well be an end to legal immigration, should tell you that this fight is not about illegal immigration, it is about halting virtually all immigration.