Obama Calls For Review Of Ariz. Immigration Bill

Guests

Peter O'Dowd, reporter at member station KJZZ in Tempe, Ariz.
Ken Rudin, political editor, NPR

Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer has signed the nation's toughest bill on illegal immigration into law. The law makes it a crime for anyone to be in the state illegally, and requires police to check suspects' immigration paperwork. President Obama has strongly criticized it, and called for a federal review.

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NEAL CONAN, host:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. Im Neal Conan in Washington.

Last week, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed the nation's toughest law on illegal immigration. SB1070 makes it a crime for anyone to be in the state illegally, requires local police to check on the papers of anyone who might be an illegal immigrant, and it makes the failure to carry those immigration documents a state crime.

Protestors gathered at the state capitol over the weekend. Thousands called the governor's office, but opinion polls show that more than two-thirds of Arizonans support the law.

Critics argue it will inevitably lead to racial profiling. Some legal experts maintain it's unconstitutional. But no matter what happens in federal court, the immigration law has already transformed politics in Arizona, here in Washington, D.C., and around the country, as the issue becomes increasingly partisan and emotional.

Let's hear from listeners in Arizona today. What does this new law tell us about politics in your state? Give us a call, 800-989-8255. Email us, talk@npr.org. You can also join the conversation on our website. Thats at npr.org. Click on TALK OF THE NATION.

Later in the program, the controversy in Utah over a murderer's choice to be executed by firing squad. But first, the politics of immigration. Our own Political Junkie Ken Rudin joins us in a couple of minutes. Let's start, though, with Peter O'Dowd, a reporter at member station KJZZ in Tempe. Nice to have you on TALK OF THE NATION.

Mr. PETER O'DOWD: Thanks, Neal, good to be here.

CONAN: And what was the scene like at the state capitol when the bill was signed?

Mr. O'DOWD: Oh, boy, well, there was a big protest all weekend long, and including on Friday when the bill was signed. I was there actually at the protest. The governor was offsite. As soon as she signed the bill, you know, car horns started just absolutely peeling through the capital complex. There were people started to openly weep when they heard the news, lots of loud, rowdy protests that I haven't seen like this like that in this area in quite a while.

CONAN: And obviously more protests are planned, and this is not going away, but it is likely to be going into federal court pretty soon.

Mr. O'DOWD: It is. MALDEF, that's the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund, they've already said that they will be moving forward on a lawsuit. They say they should be at about 30 to 45 days. I think the ACLU has said that they will get involved in it, you know, probably quite a few other groups as time moves on here.

CONAN: I think the mayor of Phoenix said he'd like to do that, too.

Mr. O'DOWD: He did. The mayor of Phoenix said that he would get involved. I believe that's going to be discussed more on Tuesday, I think. But yeah, so there's a lot of people who are threatening legal action, including the city council.

CONAN: The law does not take effect until 90 days after the governor signs it into law. So there's a time period for courts to intervene. So we'll have to see what happens there. The opinion polls tell us that two-thirds of Arizonans support the law.

Mr. O'DOWD: I think that's really important to remember. The opponents of this bill are, as I mentioned, very loud, vociferous protesting. But if you talk to people on the street, you'll find just as many people who really believe this is a great idea, who thinks that, you know, this takes the handcuffs off police officers, allows them to crack down on crime that's committed by illegal immigrants.

I mean, if you take an informal poll on the streets, you'll find that people are afraid of crimes that are committed by illegal immigrants, violent crimes. You know, it turns out that we don't really think that they are committing any more crimes than any other population group, but still, that's the perception on the street, and people really do back this law.

CONAN: And other people, though, Latinos obviously, as you mentioned, are reacting negatively.

Mr. O'DOWD: They're terrified. They're absolutely terrified. You know, the people I've spoken to over the weekend at these protests say, you know, we'll believe it, that there's not going to be racial profiling, when we don't see it. You know, they believe that they will be stopped by the police if they have brown skin, because they have brown skin.

So the police are saying, you know, this isn't going to happen that way, but I've talked to some people in the Latino community who say they're already preparing to go back to Mexico or at least leave Arizona and get out of the state all together.

CONAN: Has there been any suggestion of how police are supposed to recognize an illegal immigrant?

Mr. O'DOWD: It's a tough question I think that we're not totally clear on. Let's say, for example, you're driving down the street, and you are Latino, and you get pulled over for a speeding ticket. That is not enough of a reason, according to police and the lawmakers who drafted this bill, to ask you for your documentation.

Let's say, for example, you are pulled over for a speeding ticket, you have brown skin and you also are in a car packed with eight other people. Youre -say you're near the border, which is a known smuggling route, and that there are other circumstances involved, then the police officer or the, you know, the law enforcement can ask, and they can move forward with that assessment.

CONAN: Is that in the law, though?

Mr. O'DOWD: It's kind of up for debate. I mean, I think we're trying to figure out exactly what the law says and what will be allowed. You know - I think, and that's something that I think will go case by case, if something goes to the courts, you know, was the civil rights violated? Well, we're not sure until it actually happens.

CONAN: Let's get some callers in on the conversation, 800-989-8255. Email is talk@npr.org. Michael's(ph) on the line from Flagstaff.

MICHAEL (Caller): Hi, how you all doing today?

CONAN: Well, thank you.

MICHAEL: Good, completely outraged. I'm a Mexican-American living here. I'm in the restaurant industry, and I have friends, lots of friends that are living in fear right now, absolute terrified right now.

CONAN: And how does what do they think is going to happen?

MICHAEL: They think that they're going to get pulled over and they think there are just going to be random searches, you know. We have a lot of police officers here in Flagstaff, and they have nothing better to do but to pull us over, and that's what they will do.

CONAN: Anybody with brown skin.

MICHAEL: Absolutely. I mean, I'm fortunate enough to be pretty pale-skinned. So I probably would not pass in that category there, but a lot of my friends, they're brown-skinned, and how many people in Arizona are brown-skinned?

CONAN: Quite a few, one would think, and not just the Mexicans.

MICHAEL: Yeah, so I would imagine that poll has to have some falsity to it that they say two-thirds of Arizonans agree with this poll. I mean, cause I can agree with I can say that the Latino population, which is a pretty good population here, does not agree with this bill whatsoever.

CONAN: All right, Michael, thanks very much for the phone call, appreciate it.

MICHAEL: Thank you, take care.

CONAN: What percentage of the population of Arizona is Latino, Peter O'Dowd?

Mr. O'DOWD: I believe about 30 percent.

CONAN: Thirty percent, so if that 30 percent is solidly against, that suggests that almost everybody else is in favor.

Mr. O'DOWD: Perhaps. I mean, I haven't seen that figure, but I mean, yeah, there is no doubt that a lot of people are in absolute support of this bill.

CONAN: And let's get onto the politics of this now. As I understand it, all but one Republican voted in favor of this bill in the legislature, and the Democrats solidly opposed. How did this become such a partisan issue?

Mr. O'DOWD: Well, I think immigration is a partisan issue all over the country. And I think that especially in this state, we are a border state, where a tremendous amount of people are crossing the border from Mexico into Arizona. The I think the Republican side is very much voicing similar concerns that the Republican side does all over the country except that we're at ground zero.

And so, I think that it's more of an emergency, they feel. That if the federal government's not going to act, then it should be the state. It should be the state politicians who step forward and take care of this.

CONAN: A states rights issue, if you will, in the absence of federal action. Well, Ken Rudin is with us here in Studio 3, our Political Junkie, and of course, NPR's political editor when he's not on the air with us. And, Ken, this is immediately being taken up on Capitol Hill because Democrats saw political opportunity.

KEN RUDIN: Well, yes, and plus the fact just going back to what Peter just said. You know, its a different Republican party now than there was, for example, in 2005, 2006. Back then, you had the Republican President Bush. You had a different John McCain, and you had people like that who were pushing for path to citizenships for the 11 million undocumented aliens in this country.

That Republican leadership is different. It's different, now it's much more conservative. John McCain, who would never have supported this bill years ago, endorsed it right before it was passed. He was, of course, castigated by many editorials saying he's pandering, but he does have a very conservative challenger in the August 24th primary, as does Jan Brewer.

CONAN: Brewer.

RUDIN: Jan Brewer, the governor, who also has a challenge in the August primary from conservative Republicans. So as a matter of fact, one of the Republicans who voted for it, a moderate, was quoted in I guess the Arizona Republic saying you just can't vote no on immigration anymore. It's been that polarized and that much worse in Arizona.

CONAN: Yet, a little history here. Prop 187 back in California, Pete Wilson, the Republican governor and was thought to have, well, pretty well cost the any Republican in the state the vote of any Hispanic for the next 30 years.

RUDIN: Well, that's exactly what happened. I think George W. Bush understood that, even though Pete Wilson was re-elected in 1994 because of Prop 187. They did say adios to every Latino voter. I mean, California Hispanics have not voted Republican since then. I guess Schwarzenegger - came back a little bit with Schwarzenegger.

But Bush was very careful when he ran for governor of Texas in '94 and re-election in '98, said I'm not going to make the mistake that Pete Wilson did. This is the future of American politics, and I'm going to make sure that we reach out to them. But that outreach from the Republican Party certainly disappears with a bill like this.

CONAN: And then-candidate Obama got tremendous support from the Latino community. Indeed, one of the reasons this bill is coming up on Capitol Hill in this moment is that, well, Latinos are angry at the president and the congressional Democrats for not acting sooner on this.

RUDIN: And Harry Reid and some Democrats have said, look, we can even pass this without Republican support because it could be even if this doesn't get passed, we can tell Latinos, Hispanic voters that the Democrats are for you and the Republicans will never be for you. But if that's the approach that Harry Reid and the Democrats take, and without saying what the Republicans are doing is fine, but if it's all politics, then nothing gets done and we're still with the same problems of immigration that we had before.

CONAN: Well, there's plenty of times when politicians are more interested in having the issue than necessarily a piece of legislation. As I understand it, we're not talking about a piece of legislation. There is no immigration bill. It hasn't been written yet.

RUDIN: Exactly, and Charles Schumer, the Democrat from New York, and Lindsey Graham, the Republican from South Carolina, had been working on bipartisan language for several months. It hadn't gone any further. Lindsey Graham hadn't gotten any more Republican supporters, but again, right now it's a hot political commodity.

Democrats were afraid to look, with 10 percent unemployment, they don't want this issue demagogued into they take our jobs from us because that could be certainly could happen. But with the Arizona measure, if there is more of a political windfall for the Democratic party, they'll certainly take it.

CONAN: Peter O'Dowd, there in Tempe, let me ask you: Do Republicans in Arizona fear that they have lost the Hispanic vote for a generation?

Mr. O'DOWD: Well, that's a good question. They might not care. You know, I've spoken to the Latino community at length here, and they say, look, you passed this bill, and now we are going to mobilize against you. We are going to try and put people in office who will, you know, do things that we want them to.

But frankly, it might not matter because, you know, for every Latino voter in Arizona, there is that many more people who, as I said before, really believe this is a big deal. And one political analyst I spoke with said, it doesn't mobilized the Latinos get to vote Republicans out of office, it's not enough to tip the scales.

CONAN: Ken?

RUDIN: And also there's more important for the Republicans right now is the August 24th primary. The general election and the Latino blowback will come later.

CONAN: We're talking about the politics of immigration this hour. Ken Rudin, our Political Junkie, is with us. Also, Peter O'Dowd, a reporter at member station KJZZ, with us from Tempe, Arizona.

You can join the conversation, as well. We'd especially like to hear from those of you in Arizona. What does the passage of this law say about politics in your state? 800-989-8255, email us talk@npr.org. I'm Neal Conan. Stay with us. It's the TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.

(Soundbite of music)

CONAN: This is TALK OF THE NATION. Im Neal Conan in Washington.

The bill that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into law last week is the toughest on illegal immigration in the nation. Both critics and proponents say it's the broadest and strictest measure in generations. It makes it a state crime for illegal immigrants to be in Arizona and requires anyone suspected of being illegal to show proof of their legal status.

The law itself is a culmination of political forces brewing in Arizona, and its passage touched off a nationwide debate over the issue. Today, we're looking at all the political agendas when it comes to immigration with our Political Junkie, Ken Rudin.

We also want to hear from you, especially those of you in Arizona. What does this new law tell us about politics in your state? Give us a call, 800-989-8255. Email us, talk@npr.org. You can also join the conversation on our website. That's at npr.org. Click on TALK OF THE NATION.

And let's go first to this is Tony(ph), and Tony's on the air with us from Naples, Florida.

TONY (Caller): Yes, good afternoon. Thank you for taking my call.

CONAN: Sure.

TONY: I have a question and a comment. A question for your guests. I understand that President Reagan passed an amnesty bill.

CONAN: Yes. Well, he didn't pass it. He signed it.

TONY: He signed it. He agreed to it, and there was two portions to it, and they gave amnesty to people who came over undocumented.

CONAN: Correct.

TONY: But there was some other end of it that was supposed to be implemented, but it never was. Was that the closing of the border or was that what was that that wasn't followed through with?

CONAN: Ken?

RUDIN: Yeah, I believe - I think, Tony, you're right. I think the part of that legislation that never was implemented was either the fence or whatever, the closing of the border. And that's still the issue that even McCain, when he was pushing for the legalization of the people who were here, saying the border has is just so porous and has to be fixed, and it dated back to the 1986 bill. So that's that's still the thing that has never been implemented.

CONAN: Peter O'Dowd, let me ask you, just to follow up stay with us Tony. I was down in the Tucson area not all that long ago, a couple years ago. They were still working on the fencing along the border there. Has that construction stopped? Is it going ahead? What's going on?

Mr. O'DOWD: Yeah, there always there seems to be some construction-related news going on from time to time. I believe the latest is that the federal government has not been able to provide all the money that's necessary to get the especially something called a virtual fence off the ground.

And so, I'm not exactly sure on the latest, but its always kind of stopping and starting, but it's always, it's always in the back of at least the state politicians' minds.

CONAN: Tony, you had another comment?

TONY: Well, my comment is, is I could see that this bill here is going to move the federal government to do something, and it has to be action by both parties. You can't make this political in order to capture the Latino vote because our porous borders is making our country vulnerable to people of other countries to use those ways of getting in here. And if we can't secure our borders, we can't secure our country.

CONAN: Tony, thanks very much for that, we appreciate it.

RUDIN: Can I just say one thing to what Tony just said is that that's exactly what we heard in the beginning of the show. When Governor Brewer signed the measure, she said it's decades of inaction by Washington. So I think as -President Obama has said this is a misguided bill. It may finally cause Washington to realize that we can't have 50 state legislatures forming foreign policy like this.

CONAN: Tony, I'm sorry, I cut you off. You were going to say?

TONY: Yes, can I make one more comment?

CONAN: If you would make it quickly.

TONY: Yes. All the undocumented workers that came to this country, that work here very hard and send back whatever money they can to their families in other countries, they are getting exploited by companies here. And it's an underclass of people, and here in Florida we see it a lot, especially in Amacoli(ph), that - that has to stop.

CONAN: All right, Tony.

TONY: That is legalized slavery of this generation. And it's only because our politicians are not doing the work, the hard work of making decisions and implementing them.

CONAN: Tony, thank you very much, we appreciate it. He was also talking about Democrats politicizing this to score points with Hispanic voters, and that's one issue. But isn't it fair to say Republicans are politicizing it, too, to score points with their political base for the upcoming primaries?

RUDIN: Well, perhaps yes, and I think that something that Peter O'Dowd said earlier, talking about Latino strength in Arizona, when you think of Hispanic voting population strength, it's California, New Mexico, Texas but less so in Arizona. They're less organized in Arizona, and I suspect one of the reasons Republicans were so for this bill was they feared they did not fear any kind of retribution.

CONAN: Let's go next to Taylor(ph), Taylor with us from Phoenix.

TAYLOR (Caller): Yes, I have something I wanted to add. I'm a nurse in the state of Arizona. I also work for the state and help provide services. It makes me wonder if I will need to become some sort of mandatory reporter when I work with kids who are legal when their parents are not legal citizens.

CONAN: So you would feel like you would have questions about whether you would be required to report this to the authorities.

TAYLOR: Right, right. And also, how would that impact the nursing service and nursing care that I do and that other people like me do?

CONAN: Peter O'Dowd, has Taylor got a problem here?

Mr. O'DOWD: I think I can answer that. So the law as it stands makes it a crime to either conceal, harbor or shield an illegal immigrant if you know or recklessly disregard that person's legal status. But there are some provisions in there for people providing emergency service, public safety and public health services. So I don't believe in that situation, there would be a problem.

TAYLOR: Excellent, thank you very much.

CONAN: Thanks for the call, Taylor. Let's go next to this is David(ph), David with us from Berkeley, California.

DAVID (Caller): Hey, thanks. I have a situation here and a question for you. We haven't heard much about what happens when people who are brown but are citizens are pulled over. You know, I'm not used to carrying around a passport or some birth certificate to prove that I'm a citizen.

My husband is Latino, and we're both citizens. I'm not Latino. We go to Arizona to visit my sister-in-law. So does he carry papers and I don't have to? If he gets pulled over without some kind of passport, does he get hauled in somewhere until he can get someone to get him papers? What is...

CONAN: Peter O'Dowd, is a driver's license enough, or do you have to have something more than that?

Mr. O'DOWD: Yeah, good question. Again, people are really afraid about that, and what we're hearing is that, you know, let's say you're here legally in the state. If you have every right to be here, it's not you can say so, and if you don't have your driver's license, the police say that they can put your name and your date of birth into the computer and check it out to make sure that you belong here.

And if you're a U.S. citizen, you dont have to have anything on you. It's just a matter if you're not here legally, and you don't have the papers, and you're asked for them, and you lie, then you're in big trouble.

DAVID: Right, but two people driving down the road, one is not a citizen, one is, they're both brown, but the one who is a citizen isn't used to carrying papers.

Mr. O'DOWD: Right, so but in that situation, unless the officer has some reason to believe that you are an illegal immigrant and you have you know, you can't just use the color of your skin, according to this law, to ask you for your papers, though. So you know, maybe...

DAVID: If he is asked for papers, how does he prove that? That seems very sketchy to me.

CONAN: Yeah, that's a question a lot of people have at this point, David, I think.

DAVID: Thank you.

CONAN: All right, bye-bye. Here's an email from Kathleen(ph) in Weston, Massachusetts: Isn't somebody here illegally already breaking the law? What is new about this? I also thought it was made a crime to hire illegals many years ago. Again, what's new? It would be nice to change some of the immigration laws, but threatening to enforce the ones we already have does not seem outrageous to me.

Well, as I understand it, Peter O'Dowd, the difference is, this is local authorities and state authorities taking on what has generally been, has always been regarded as federal authority.

Mr. O'DOWD: Right, so it's a federal crime to cross into the country illegally, but that's kind of where the states jurisdiction stops or doesn't really apply. So now the state is taking control into its hands and saying you are now committing a state crime.

What's the difference? You know, on a practical level, I'm not really sure, except for the state is, you know, making a stand, it seems.

CONAN: Also that part that requires law authorities to demand identification papers from people they believe to be here illegally.

Mr. O'DOWD: And that's the most controversial part of the bill, yeah. Which oh, by the way, I should add, before, and this was the sponsor of the bill said before this law, many communities in Arizona created safe havens or what they called sanctuary cities. So now, he's given the police the power, the bill has given the police the power, you know, to ask those questions, takes the handcuffs off, as they like to say, and it allows police to ask those questions, which they weren't allowed to ask before.

CONAN: Ken, I'm sorry?

RUDIN: And part of the problem is Arizona has lately had a history with kind of repressive measures. Joe Arpaio, the sheriff there, and Russell Pierce, the state senator who pushed for this measure, they have a history of tons of rhetoric against illegal immigrants, illegal or otherwise. That has put part of this fear into the hearts and minds in Arizona.

CONAN: Carlos(ph) is on the line with us from Tucson.

CARLOS: Hey, thank for taking my call. I just feel like the law in itself is a preemptive strike in the immigration debate, and they're trying to frame the issue, knowing that Obama's going to be tackling that.

And what it's going to do to our already bankrupt state, in a state with budget woes that everybody likes to blame Hispanics for, is it's going to make things worse in regards to immigrants or folks of brown color like myself who are already skeptical of the authorities here and in our city. And it's going to make it worse for cooperation for law enforcement, as well as making our budget woes without (unintelligible) whether they're going to be called criminals in our jails and some of the social things that we have here.

CONAN: Yeah, I understand that. Carlos, thanks very much. Peter O'Dowd, he raises a couple of interesting points. One of them: What are the police saying about this? Do they worry that they're going to stop having communications with, you know, people providing information on crimes in the Hispanic community?

Mr. O'DOWD: Well, it depends on which police you talk to. The Phoenix police, through their union, have said that they welcome this, that it will allow them to crack down on crime. As it is now, some people in the heavily minority neighborhoods say that they have a good working relationship with the police, but they worry that will change. If you talk to other police agencies across the state - kind of just like I said, depends on who you talk to. Others say, absolutely - no one is going to voluntarily bring the police into their neighborhoods if you fear getting deported. And so, yeah. Some police do think that's a problem.

CONAN: Let's go next to - this is David, David with us from Tulsa.

DAVID (Caller): Hey. How are you doing?

CONAN: I'm well. Thank you.

DAVID: My question was, is this going to be an encouragement for other states to follow suit? And I think that's where the danger lies.

CONAN: Ken, is there any indication to that?

RUDIN: Absolutely. As a matter of fact, that's one of the biggest fears about a law like this is that there are state legislators in other states with similar problems. I think Arizona probably has the worst problem with illegal immigration, things like that. But there other states and the lawmakers who have been pushing for this. And they feel that unless Washington acts, unless Congress acts, there will be 49 more states, you know, pushing for this kind of legislation.

CONAN: David, thanks very much.

DAVID: And I guess my - specifically, the states that don't have as much - that aren't border states, but it's going to be like a bandwagon for them to jump on that...

CONAN: Yeah.

DAVID: ...for states that be - are kind of inclined in that way. And I'll listen to the rest of your comments off the line.

CONAN: All right, David. Thanks very much. And that's where you get to the legal issue. And this is, as we mentioned earlier, almost certain to be in federal court before it takes effect in 90 days. And I wonder, Peter O'Dowd, have you talked with legal scholars there in Arizona? What do they say its prospects are?

Mr. O'DOWD: I have. Just this morning, I talked to a constitutional lawyer who says he thinks that the challenges have a pretty good chance in court. There's a couple of things that they think that they can work on here. Number one is federalism. The argument from some of these lawsuits is that, absolutely, 100 percent, the federal government has control over immigration law. And in this case, Arizona is trying to hijack that to actually try and control the way the federal government enforces immigration law. So that's the number one.

Number two is questions of the Fourth Amendment and probable cause. Legal scholars say that there is some reason to believe that an officer, without probable cause - let's say - to make a stop, let's say he's at the local grocery store and he hears somebody talking about the fact that he's illegal, that he can now make an arrest. So there are - and I'm not a legal scholar myself, but - so it's the Fourth Amendment there that seems to be causing some skepticism.

CONAN: Ken?

RUDIN: And also for the record, the law says that it takes effect 90 days after the state legislature adjourns. So we're saying it probably will not happen before August.

CONAN: Okay. So I stand corrected on that. We're talking about the politics of immigration. You're listening to TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.

And let's go next to - this is Marlene, Marlene calling from Phoenix.

MARLENE (Caller): Yes. I'm a native Arizonan. And all of my life, I've heard people refer to Arizona as being very bigoted. I've been denying it all my life, but obviously, I've been very wrong. I'm embarrassed for my state. And I'm Caucasian. I'm not even a Latino, but I'm very embarrassed for my state.

CONAN: And what do you think it says about the politics of your state that the law was passed?

MARLENE: Eighty percent of the people here have come from out of state. And it says to me that the outsiders have come in, and they're running the state.

CONAN: The immigrants from...

MARLENE: No, not the immigrants.

CONAN: No, no. I don't mean from Mexico. I mean from Michigan.

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MARLENE: Michigan, exactly.

CONAN: I don't mean to pick out Michigan, but...

MARLENE: From all over the country.

CONAN: All right. Marlene, thanks very much for the phone call. Here's an email with another point of view, this is from Anne in Sonoma, California: I'm a liberal Democrat on the West Coast. I'm not against this law. I think Democrats better sit up and listen and not vote along party lines. This issue should not be so political. The unrestrained tidal wave of immigration from Mexico in the last 15 years or so is a fact of life and needs to be dealt with.

And - well, Ken Rudin, are any of the immigration bills or the talk about immigration in terms of what Lindsey Graham and Senator Schumer were talking about, that kind of legislation, does it have a real prospect at this point?

RUDIN: Well, I mean, obviously, Arizona changes a lot of things, or we think it changes a lot of things. I mean, the language in the Schumer-Graham bill that they were working on, again, talks about, you know, fixing the border and also helping people attain citizenship. But mostly, it's the former than the latter. I think in 2005, 2006, McCain and Bush from the Chamber of Commerce were really talking about getting these people on the path to citizenship. Now, everybody agrees, even the people who were pro-immigration reform, whatever that means...

CONAN: Mm-hmm.

RUDIN: ...say that the border is the number one thing, because Arizona is still going through tons - there's tons of crime coming out from folks in Mexico, shootings, smugglings, people starving in the desert. I mean, it's just getting very ugly, and it's out of hand. And while Jan Brewer said, look, you know, this is not something I would have liked to have passed - and Jan Brewer is not one of those fire breathing, right-wing Republicans, but she knows that something is not working in her state, and perhaps this will get the incentive to Washington to wake up.

CONAN: Let's go next to Peter, Peter with us from Mesa, Arizona.

PETER (Caller): Yeah. Hi. My name's Peter Raven(ph). I live over here in - it's not Mesa. What it is is a federal Indian reservation called Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. And, you know, all of us from here have real vulnerability towards this issue because we have, you know, brown skin, like most Mexicans. And, you know, it feels threatening that, you know, most people think that this little bill being able to ask everyone their immigration status is going to solve anything. They were asleep for about, you know, five or six years, and then they realized we were all here. And now we're having border rights issues with the - some family members down in the TL nation. They have border rights issue going on, too.

CONAN: That's a huge Indian nation that straddles the border between Arizona and Mexico. Yes, indeed.

PETER: Yeah. And all of us are from the same band. We share some of the same names, and we're all the same family, all the way from here down to Mexico.

CONAN: Well, Peter, thanks for the call. I hadn't thought of that. Appreciate it.

PETER: All right.

CONAN: Bye-bye. Quickly, Peter O'Dowd, is the betting that somehow this is going to end up in federal court and the law will be stayed for the years it will take this to be argued through the federal courts?

Mr. O'DOWD: Well, you know, who knows at this point. We know the lawsuits are coming. The sponsor of the bill says he's vetted it with lawyers. He believes -he's been sued before. He thinks it's going to stand up. So who knows? Time will tell.

CONAN: And Ken Rudin, quickly, the prospects that something is actually going to happen here in Washington D.C., a bill proposed and passed?

RUDIN: Probably not. No. I mean, who knows? I mean, you know, at the outbreak, the excitement of what happened in Arizona could get people excited, and then it could just as disappear with a new Supreme Court justice and then everything else gets knocked off the front page.

CONAN: All right. Thanks very much. Peter O'Dowd, thanks very much for your time today.

Mr. O'DOWD: My pleasure. Thank you.

CONAN: Peter O'Dowd, a reporter at member station KJZZ, with us there in Tempe, Arizona. Political Junkie Ken Rudin with us here in Studio 3A, a special guest Monday visit. He'll be with us again on Wednesday, in his usual slot. Thanks very much.

RUDIN: Thank you, Neal.

CONAN: Coming up, an unusual request for a convicted murderer sentenced to death in Utah. He wants a firing squad.

Stay with us. I'm Neal Conan. It's the TALK OF THE NATION, from NPR News.

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