Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
While Republicans pretend to do something about border security by posturing on SB 1070, Arizona's "show me your papers law," Attorney General Terry Goddard is actually doing something constructive about border security.
In an editorial opinion in the Arizona Daily Star today, the editors give credit where credit is due. Good plan: taking on human, gun, drug smugglers:
'Securing the border" is an amorphous political phrase that, without definition, means little. The Arizona Attorney General's Office is providing a definition with its newly launched, $50 million grant program that will allocate money to fight the cross-border smuggling of people, drugs, money or weapons.
The grant fund will provide needed assistance to local agencies to combat what are highly organized criminal enterprises. By casting the net wide but giving the efforts a scope, the program has the potential to jump-start some efforts and support ongoing actions.
"Border security" is too broad a label to be meaningful. Stopping smugglers from trafficking drugs and people into the U.S., while taking weapons and money south into Mexico, is the key to taking down the organizations that drive much of the crime along the border, Attorney General Terry Goddard told the Star on Monday.
The grants are available to state and local law enforcement agencies in Arizona, Texas, California and New Mexico.
The money flows from a $94 million settlement the Attorney General's Office came to with Western Union after a lengthy investigation into criminals' use of wire transfers to move money across borders.
Goddard, who is the Democratic candidate for governor, said that each of the four eligible states will receive at least $7 million, which will allow local agencies to develop solid plans instead of rushing to beat others to the money. The funds can be spent on joint operations with Mexican authorities.
"We won't give it to Mexican agencies directly but will encourage border law enforcement to work with their counterparts," Goddard said.
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[T]this new fund can be used to hire employees, and to support investigations and prosecutions. Arizona law enforcement agencies should use this grant program to strengthen their efforts to fight border-related crime.
Border security cannot happen until the nation figures out a workable immigration policy that takes removes the financial gold mine that motivates criminals to smuggle people across the border. Until then – and it looks like "then" could be far off – Goddard is correct to focus efforts on fighting the cartels by going after their business operations.
Compare Goddard's constructive action to that of the "petulant" Accidental Governor. Conservative columnist Robert Robb of the Arizona Republic, with whom I almost never agree, actually got it right the other day. Terry Goddard shows class on SB 1070 fight:
Attorney General Terry Goddard did the right thing by stepping aside and letting Gov. Jan Brewer take the lead on defending Arizona's new immigration law. To do so, he had to swallow a lot, given Brewer's petulant mishandling of the situation.
Early last week, Brewer sent Goddard a letter demanding that he butt out of the case, claiming that the new state law gave her control of the litigation, including the right to appoint counsel other than the attorney general, which she had done.
There's one rather huge and insurmountable problem with the governor's claim. The law giving her that authority doesn't go into effect until July 29. Right now, she has zero authority to make the legal decisions on behalf of the state or appoint outside legal counsel to represent the state.
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Goddard had actually made a constructive offer to work with the governor's outside counsel during this period. Rather than accept this bridge across the legal limbo, Brewer sent her demand letter asserting fictitious authority and threatening to sue to oust Goddard if he didn't get out of the case.
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During this dispute, Brewer's staff has also bad-mouthed the legal capabilities of Goddard's office. This was unfair and unwarranted. Goddard's Solicitor General's Office has generally done a good job during his tenure.
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Regardless, Goddard ultimately acted like a statesman in this dispute. Brewer acted like a petulant and disingenuous politician.
In fact, Terry Goddard was honored with an award by his peers last week at the same time the Brewer campaign was bad-mouthing him, which speaks volumes about Jan Brewer's lack of character and class. Terry Goddard honored with Kelley-Wyman Award from the National Association of Attorneys General