My Turn: The SB 1070 lesson that La Raza forgot

Mark Spencer, AZ I See It Published 6:34 a.m. MT July 10, 2017 | Updated 6:34 a.m. MT July 10, 2017

My Turn: Senate Bill 1070 wasn’t a failure, as the National Council of La Raza claims. It proved that the rule of law can improve (and save) lives.

The president of the National Council of “the Race” (La Raza) recently presented Senate Bill 1070 as a costly Arizona failure and a sobering American object lesson. “Pillars of a civil society” were encouraged to take notice of the damage caused by the rule of law.

While the state’s immigration legislation stirred up deep resentment in Ms. Murguia, La Raza’s own history of “deep roots” in Phoenix – partnerships with Valley National Bank and the Luhrs Building – were fondly remembered. Sadly, she forgot about 1988.

Twenty-nine years prior to SB 1070, Officer Ken Collings was working off-duty at Valley National Bank. He was shot in the head during a robbery by an illegal alien. Years later Mexico agreed to extradite Rudolpho Romero back to the U.S. when the death penalty was off the table.

In the shadow of the Luhrs Building, Ken and other fallen officers were memorialized over the years at the Phoenix Police Museum. Perhaps there’s another valuable lesson for Ms. Murguia and America; “It is the doom of men that they forget.”

What life was really like before SB 1070

Those who walk point and live in the gap have long and precious memories. Those who live under fire on the front lines rarely see value in acceptable casualty rates. Yet the crisis, loss and damage caused by illegal immigration seem to be gently embraced those who advocate for open borders and race-based politics.

Lawlessness leads to more lawlessness. Prior to SB 1070, the 2004 sanctuary city policy of Phoenix was corrosive to our quality of life. It made working conditions for police officers lethal and was literally killing our Hispanic community partners.

DIAZ: Is Arizona a beacon of hope after SB 1070?

Before SB 1070, the lawless choices of illegal aliens cost six Phoenix police officers their lives and injected serious life-changing injuries to seven others. In 2006-07, 60 percent of homicide victims in Phoenix were Hispanic. Half of these deaths were connected to illegal immigration.

Prior to SB 1070, some strategically exchanged “illegal alien” with “undocumented worker” and defended federal trespassing as a search for “hope and love.” Meanwhile, taxpayers who lived with a volatile southern Arizona border routinely collided with murder, rape, drugs, weapons, kidnapping, extortion, coyotes, cartels and ecological barbarism.

Result of law’s ‘test drive?’ Less crime

These casualties weren’t caused by race, culture or skin color but by personal conduct and choices. Political elites seem immune from harsh reality. Yet for many in Arizona, the criminal deterrence of SB 1070 reduced the massive human costs rooted in federal immigration violations.

Starting in 2008, the Phoenix PD “test drove” SB 1070. Officers were permitted discretionary contact with federal immigration partners when there was reasonable suspicion a person was in the country illegally and that person was connected to a crime.

The progress seen in this conduct-driven policing approach was astounding. Within six months there was a 24 percent reduction in violent crime, a 26 percent reduction in stolen vehicles and homicide clearance rates climbed from 5 percent to 80 percent.

Then-Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris described this successful SB 1070 test drive as “unprecedented cooperation between our investigative units and our state, federal and local partners.” Within two years Phoenix saw a 20-year low reduction in crime without a single civil rights, biased policing or racial profiling complaint.

SB 1070 didn’t end Arizona’s growth

It’s been seven years since SB 1070 became Arizona law. In that time, Maricopa County saw the highest population growth of any county nationwide. The state homicide rate was halved. Arizona leads in construction growth. Phoenix became the fifth-largest city in America.

Boycotts, recalls and Soros-bought politics are shortsighted and short-lived. Backlash strategies seem inconsistent with Arizona’s forward progress. The rule of law increases quality of life and decreases casualties in communities. Here endeth the lesson.

Mark Spencer is the former president of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association and is the Southwest projects coordinator for Judicial Watch, a national legal and investigative watchdog advocate. Email him at MSpencer@judicialwatch.org.

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