Immigration reform: What role will Ron Barber play?


The Republican vs Republican-lite Congressional District 2 race has finally been called. Congressman Ron Barber defeated Colonel Marthy McSally in a very tight contest.

With the special election primary, the special election, and the general election, Barber has been running for office for 10 months of this year. Now, he can finally relax into his new Capitol Hill seat.

But, wait, there’s more… now, he has to stand up and be our Congressman.

And immigration reform– a hot-button Southern Arizona issue, for sure– is at the top of President Barack Obama’s priority list, after his rainbow-hued election win. With his delayed deportation for Dreamers and his focus on deporting undocumented criminals (and not your housekeeper), Obama has been inching forward on immigration reform.

What will the role of Baja Arizona’s new Congressman be? Find out after the jump.

According the the New York Times, Obama “is firmly on the hook” to tackle immigration reform after having won the Latino vote 3-1, and the Times claims that some Republicans (seeing their party’s extinction on the horizon) are ready to chip in and help.

One day, the Republican Party is rock-ribbed restrictionist, dedicated to the proposition that unauthorized immigrants are an invading army of job stealers, welfare moochers and criminals whose only acceptable destiny is to be caught and deported — the border fence forever, “amnesty” never. The next day: never mind.

One has to wonder where this leaves our DINO Congressman. During the campaign, there was hardly any difference between the two hawks– Barber and McSally– on border policy. They were both firmly enconsed in the “border security” camp. No talk of reform… period.

Barber’s campaign website– quoted below– makes no mention of immigration reform, compehensive reform (Giffords’ stance), the Dream Act, the plight of undocumented and exploited workers, the heartbreak of family separation, a path to citizenship, or even the Latinos who live in CD2. Instead, it focuses exclusively on Blue Dog Democrat … er… conservative Republican talking points– security, fear, drugs, fences, drones, guns, increased militarization of the border, and business friendly war deals for our local bomb-maker. [Key words highlighted for emphasis.]

Ron recognizes that all Americans have a right to a secure border, and that it is the responsibility of the federal government to uphold that right. People in Southern Arizona who are affected by the dangerous activities of drug cartels along our border know that Ron is no stranger to the issue of border security. As district director for Congresswoman Giffords, he fought for the resources to secure the border.

Ron fought for a position on the House Committee on Homeland Security and joined the Border Security Caucus. That’s the way Ron has made border security issues a priority.  He introduced bipartisan legislation, the United States-Mexico Cross Border Security Act, which calls for the United States and Mexico to work cooperatively to fight Mexican criminal organizations that threaten people living on both sides of the border. Ron has also continued to meet with ranchers, local mayors, and border patrol agents to hear from them what they need and how we can better secure the border.

Ron will continue to fight for:

More agents – on the border. Ron will continue to fight for border security policies that enforce the border at the border. Border Patrol resources should be increased and repositioned until a drug runner is unable to cross the border without being spotted and deterred or apprehended by our Border Patrol agents.

More high-tech assets. Ron will work to increase the availability of cutting-edge technology that allows the Border Patrol to be more effective. This includes Mobile Surveillance Systems (MSS), sensors, radar and cameras, as well as new products that can be deployed quickly. Ron will continue to urge the Department of Homeland Security to invest in innovations such as the use of optic cables to identify border incursions as soon as they occur.

Forward Operating Bases/Horse Patrols. Ron will keep advocating for the expanded use of two effective tactical assets: Forward Operating Bases and Horse Patrols. These assets are particularly needed in rural and rugged sections of the border where drug smugglers have been driven by the build-up of enforcement, such as fences, in more urban areas. Ron believes we must do more to protect ranching families whose safety is threatened by increased illegal activity on their lands.

More aerial assets. Unmanned aerial vehicles can provide effective and efficient surveillance of border activity, and other air assets like helicopters can quickly deploy agents to stop border incursions, even in isolated areas.

Smart fencing. People who pay attention to border security, like Ron, know it’s about more than just a fence.  Ron will continue to advocate for investments in smart fencing that actually prevents incursions and keeps Border Patrol agents safe, vehicle barriers, and technology solutions that work at the ground level – not those dreamed up in Washington, DC.

Border communications. As Congresswoman Giffords’ district director, Ron fought to bring mobile communications networks to the border. This is critical to keeping residents safe and ensuring that Border Patrol agents have the tools they need to do their job. Ron will not rest until border-area residents can pick up the phone and call for help if they are in harm’s way or see illegal activity.

Investments in ports of entry. Arizona’s ports of entry are seriously understaffed. Ron will keep working for robust investment in ports of entry that make sure drugs do not flow into the state and that guns and money don’t flow into Mexico, and that help protect the flow of legitimate and vital commerce.

So, as our president lays the groundwork for true immigration reform, will Barber stand with him and other Democrats or with the military industrial complex? At this juncture, my money is on him standing with Raytheon, desert-combing citizen militias, job creation through militarization, and the money-making War on Drugs. Heavy sigh.


  1. Wow! That is quite the expose’. It is a very effective tool to highlight all the instances of those emotion provoking words and then to couple that with your observation that with all this enforcement activity going on, there’s no room on his immigration policy page to muse about the Dream Act, separated families, the path to citizenship, etc. Let’s hope that Ron can reset the EtchaSketch as well as Willard could. Maybe then he can get in the freshman line at the Congressional cafeteria and support the President. Why he would need to placate the “law and order” rednecks in Pinal and Cochise counties is beyond explanation as he would be seriously deluded to imagine a second term.