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Like a bad dream

McSally's draconian immigration bill might just get a vote

Southern Arizona Congresswoman Martha McSally told voters at a recent campaign event that she had been promised a vote on the hardline immigration measure she is cosponsoring with Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Virgina), according to an Arizona Republic report.

McSally's bill, the Securing America's Future Act, pretty much mirrors what President Donald Trump wants: legal status that must be renewed every three years for Dreamers and no path to citizenship; $30 billion for a wall; a requirement that employers use the E-Verify program; a provision allowing the Justice Department to withhold funding from so-called "sanctuary cities"; a new system of "merit-based" immigration quotas; and changes that would make it almost impossible for refugees to apply for asylum in the United States. It's so draconian that in January, the Cato Institute pointed out that it would criminalize a vast number of undocumented immigrants.

"The worst enforcement provision is criminalizing simply being in the United States without status or violating any aspect of civil immigration law," a Cato summary reads. "This would turn millions of unauthorized immigrants into criminals overnight. It would also criminalize legal immigrants who fail to update their addresses, carry their green card with them at all times, or otherwise abide by the million inane regulations that Congress imposes on them. Take, for example, the status provided to Dreamers in this bill. It requires them to maintain an annual income of at least 125 percent of the poverty line. If they fall below that level for 90 days—not only are they subject to deportation again—they would be criminals. This bill literally criminalizes poverty among Dreamers. This legislation would immediately undo much of the progress that the Feds have made on criminal justice reform and reducing its prison population."

So far, the Securing America's Future Act hasn't been able to find 218 votes to pass the House of Representatives, although press reports indicate that Goodlatte is working on amending the bill to make it more palatable.

That maneuvering comes as more moderate Republicans are trying to force a vote on the DREAM Act and other legislation related to immigration.

McSally had once signed onto one of those more moderate bills, the Recognizing America's Children Act. But since she now fears the followers of one-time state lawmaker Kelli Ward and disgraced former-Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio instead of the moderate voters of Congressional District 2, she's demonstrating that she can scapegoat immigrants as well as anyone by pulling her sponsorship of that legislation and going with the hardline alternative.

Whether any of these bills will reach the House floor remains to be seen—and whether anything that can pass the House can then pass the Senate is also a mystery. But given how the governing has gone so far in the age of Trump, it takes a massive giveaway to the rich to get something passed these days—and they haven't figured out how to work a tax cut into this one yet.

Strange Bedfellows

Why is Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller getting so friendly with the cronies these days?

One of Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller's favorite bugaboos is the county's debt. Never mind that the vast majority of it is approved by voters, or that it doesn't go to day-to-day operations but instead pays for the kind of infrastructure that Miller herself says Pima County needs, or that most of it is short-term debt that's paid off within 15 years. Miller hates debt so much that she's actually proposed canceling projects in her own district rather than sell road bonds to pay for them.

And if there's one thing Ally hates more than debt, it's all of the cronies who allow Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry to maintain his iron grip on Pima County.

So why is it that suddenly, Miller is voting to borrow money to pay for roads that will benefit legendary land speculator Don Diamond's plans to develop Rocking K Ranch? Last week, Miller joined her fellow supervisor to agree to borrow $100,000 to pay for infrastructure, with future homeowners paying back the debt with a property tax within the development.

Now, the plan makes perfect sense. Future residents foot the bill and the roads get built sooner. But it's still out of character for Miller to go along with it. She'd normally call it another backroom deal for fat cats or a crooked deal by Huck Crookedberry or whatever.

Miller's sudden generosity toward Diamond comes just days after she raced to be at the side of auto dealer Jim Click at the recent Raytheon ribbon-cutting. As we noted last week, Miller was a fierce opponent of the all the steps the county took to sweet-talk Raytheon, complaining that the money would have been better used to fill potholes than retain the region's largest private employer. And it was just earlier this year that one of Miller's flying monkeys, Roger Score, chased Click around the Arizona Legislature as Click attempted to talk to lawmakers about Rio Nuevo legislation that Miller opposed.

So why is Miller suddenly sucking up to Diamond and Click? Well, Click poured money into Miller's push to take control of the Board of Supervisors last year, but he soured on her after seeing her act firsthand at the Legislature earlier this year. And since then, she's been complaining that a secret cabal is plotting to destroy her financially. So it's entirely possible a light bulb went off in Miller's head and she realized that she can't go to war with everyone in town besides radio hosts Garrett Lewis and Chris DeSimone. So she's making an effort to play nice. Ally being Ally, that won't last long, but while it does, it's great fun watching her pal around with the cronies and fat cats.

The televised edition of Zona Politics with Jim Nintzel airs 6:30 p.m. Fridays on the Creative Tucson network, Cox Channel 20 and Xfinity Channel 74. This week's guests include state Sen. Andrea Dalessandro and state Rep. Randy Friese, who discuss the recently completed legislative session. The TV show repeats Sunday mornings at 9 a.m. The radio edition of Zona Politics airs at 5 p.m. Sundays on community radio KXCI, 91.3 FM.

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