Eager to demonstrate that Sarah Palin is correct and she has bigger cajones than President Obama, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has issued a completely senseless executive order to deny state and local benefits to those young people receiving temporary permits to remain in this country for two years. The young persons involved would be barred from receiving an Arizona drivers license or any state-issued identification card. The drivers license portion of her order is in direct opposition to the terms of the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals order from the President. Otherwise, Brewer’s action is all show and little substance.
It is estimated that up to 80,000 young people in Arizona would qualify for the program. One must be under 30 years of age, have arrived here before the age of 15, have lived here since June 15, 2007, be enrolled in school or have graduated from high school and have no criminal record. The deferred action status allows these young people to apply for work permits, get Social Security cards and drivers licenses and shields them from deportation for two years.
In her order, Brewer wrote that the President’s order “does not confer upon them any lawful or authorized status and does not entitle them to any additional public benefits.” She said that her intent was to prevent “significant and lasting impacts on the Arizona budget, its health care system and additional public benefits that Arizona taxpayers fund.” That’s terribly important since Arizona suffered a loss of revenue from the closure of Hispanic-owned businesses because of SB1070, as legal Hispanics moved out of the state.
Brewer needed another “bash the Hispanics” cause since illegal immigration is way down. It’s the backbone of her administration. Arizona officials are getting really good at diversions. Sheriff Joe Arpaio went all “birther” to keep people from looking too closely at the Justice Department investigation into abuses of civil rights by his department and allegations of false arrests and prosecutions of his political enemies. Brewer has two more years to go in office and cannot seek re-election in 2014.
In spite of a tax increase and draconian program cuts like ending transplant coverage for Medicaid patients, Arizona’s economy is stagnant under Brewer. They have a $259 billion gross state product and a $1.5 billion deficit this year, in spite of a balanced budget amendment. Arizona’s “official” state debt is $5.3 billion, but there are reports that the actual debt is closer to $61 billion and the lower figure is a result of some very creative bookkeeping and definitions in their statutes governing state debt. Technically, Arizona’s state debt is only 2% of GSP, but the actual debt is 23.5%.
Their unemployment rate has dropped from 9.6% in 2010 to 8.2% today, but Walmart remains their biggest private employer. The population is 57.8% non-Hispanic white and 42.2% minority, with Hispanics constituting 70% of the minority population. However, 61.3% of all children under a year old are minority.
And no one has ever found those headless bodies in the Arizona desert that Brewer used to win election in 2010.