MADELEINE BRAND, host:
Yesterday on the program, we heard from Arizona governor Janet Napolitano on why she signed the nation's toughest law against employers who hire illegal immigrants. A business that knowingly hires illegal immigrants would lose its license for 10 days for the first infraction, and if they do it again they'd lose their license to operate in Arizona permanently.
Governor JANET NAPOLITANO (Democrat, Arizona): I think a little bit of the business community wanted to have their cake and eat it too, in the sense of we do have employers, unfortunately, some in this state and other states who intentionally go out and use this illegal immigrant market to keep wages low, and not to have to compete for workers.
BRAND: Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano. Today reaction from Mac Magruder, owner of seven McDonald's franchises in the Phoenix area. Welcome to the program.
MAC MAGRUDER (McDonald's Franchise Owner): Thank you very much. Pleasure to be here.
BRAND: I understand you are against this law. You and your colleagues held news conferences announcing your opposition. What do you dislike about this bill, specifically, and how it would affect your businesses?
Mr. MAGRUDER: Well, first of all, it's tied down to a pilot program, a national pilot program, federally mandated program that they're trying to test, and it's flawed. Now, what happens is, we call into this program and we get back somebody that's not legally employed, and then all of a sudden that becomes a real problem when there's a mistake made, and then the employer can be sued. We get sued for profiling, we could get sued for almost everything, even if we check the documents further than the ones that are presented, because anyone in Arizona, any legitimate business in Arizona, would never knowingly hire an undocumented worker.
BRAND: So you don't think there are businesses who are knowingly hiring illegal immigrants?
Ms. MAGRUDER: Well, if they are, they deserve whatever punishment they get. And again, Madeleine, this comes down to a people issue, it comes down to a racial issue, because most of the people we're talking about are our brothers and sisters down south that are hardworking, wonderful people. They came here to look for a better life, and all we did, with not enforcing our laws, is to give a wink and a nod and entrap these people.
BRAND: Well, clearly there are some businesses who hire illegal immigrants or, you know, they wouldn't come here to find jobs. So how would you crack down on businesses that do hire illegal immigrants?
Mr. MAGRUDER: Well, anyone that would knowingly hire an illegal immigrant, the laws are already on the book and it's federal law. States cannot usurp federal law and that's one of the reasons this bill is unconstitutional. And our governor, unfortunately, knew this and still, instead of leading, she still signed the bill into law. So I'm very disappointed in our governor.
BRAND: So, will you take this to court?
Mr. MAGRUDER: Oh, definitely. It will go to court and the ramifications of economic flight here are just beginning to reach the surface. There's going to be a tremendous amount of people leave the state, and I think then people will understand the benefits, the economic benefits that far outweigh some of the costs that people are associating with our friends coming from Mexico to work in this country.
BRAND: The governor says that with regards to businesses hiring illegal immigrants, sure there is a federal law in place, but it's not being enforced. And she says she and the people of Arizona are simply fed up with that and they want something done, and she's doing it.
Mr. MAGRUDER: I just am sorry that she would take that tact, because does the business community, does that rest on them? I take it as totally unfair. And not only that, she wants to exempt certain businesses. She wants to exempt the power companies. I mean she wants to exempt hospitals, she wants to exempt other businesses. Now...
BRAND: Businesses that provide vital services.
Mr. MAGRUDER: Well, that just shows that the bill is flawed and it's unconstitutional. You can't pick and choose. It's not fair, it's a matter of fair play. And I'm very disappointed in our governor's leadership in this area.
BRAND: Mac Magruder, owner of seven McDonald's franchises in Arizona. Thank you for joining us.
Mr. MAGRUDER: Thank you, Madeleine. I appreciate it.
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