The immigration mailbag | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The immigration mailbag

Posted By on Tue, Sep 18, 2007 at 2:01 PM

Funny I should mention the Republican Party in the same breath with racial-political considerations.

No sooner had I hit my mailbox than up popped an e-mail from a Republican sharing some e-mail flying around Republican circles on account of activities of Karen Ray, executive director of the Republican Party of Arkansas.

The GOP has been making a stir at the Capitol with anti-immigration hearings spearheaded by Reps. Jon Woods and Rick Green and Sen. Ruth Whitaker. (I expect a report soon on today's hearing from John Williams, but it's going to include some softening of the State Police on enforcing immigration laws.) The hearings are causing no shortage of heartburn in a business community that relies heavily on immigrant workers. And it turns out Arkansas Republicans are as split on this issue as national Republicans.

Ray has been quoted as saying she'll be working with the Farm Bureau on immigration legislation. That is, the legislation will protect farmers' dependency on immigrant labor, to the extent possible. Sort of like the Farm Bureau's animal cruelty legislation, which protected animal torturers in the name of preventing cruelty.

My source provides a variety of snippets from e-mail on the subject. It's on the jump, but worth your time. The party director's lecture of a legislator is getting a lot of attention among politicos, I can tell you.


E-MAIL EXCHANGES PROVIDED AND LABELED BY A REPUBLICAN SOURCE

From a Republican legislator:

"Karen has been asked by the Farm Bureau to be on their board to draft immigration legislation next session. Is this not a huge conflict of interest?

A response from a Republican name you'd recognize:

"Tell Karen her job is to elect Republicans to office, and that is it. She doesn't have any business being involved with groups other than the RPA. She isn't a policy expert she isn't even a political expert. She is only employed to hold that job until we can get someone with some actual experience to do it."

From GOP legislator to Ray:

Talked to Archie Schaffer. He said he will oppose any more bills filed on "immigration from state legislators."

Response from Ray:

I understand that fighting hard for your constituents' wants is very important. But I think as an elected official, it is more important that you fight for what they need, not necessarily what they want. Passing fair policies that make it easier for businesses to locate in Arkansas should be our priority, not passing feel-good legislation that is unconstitutional and runs the risk of making our party look racist. I'm sorry if that sounds harsh.

Arkansas needs better ecomnomic development incentives. Beebe has lost out on a few plants already. I think y'all should be championing economic policies that create JOBS, not introducing immigration legislation that makes Arkansas less attractive to business.

I'm going to side with the businesses on this one. Be careful!!

A comment from another Republican (he left Karen off of his response):

"Fuck everything she just said. When Tyson creates more jobs for illegal Mexicans in Springdale they are not helping the economy. They are literally destorying their own community. Every Mexican that comes to Arkansas takes job that an Arkansan could have had. Plus, Mexicans don't come anywhere close to paying in taxes what it cost for them to be here. Tyson, George's and anyone else in Chickendale that hires Mexicans does so at great cost to their own community.
Fuck em."


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