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Illegal Immigration Isn’t the Only Thing Infuriating Arizona Residents

Posted on Aug 9, 2010
Flickr / courtesy anarchosyn.

By G.W. Schulz, CIR

Note: This article was originally produced by the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Few stories about the state of Arizona could possibly command more attention right now than its passage of a bill that directs police officers to determine the immigration status of people they come into contact with and suspect of being in the country illegally.

While Americans were riveted by debate over the law, however, something else occurred there recently that’s nothing short of remarkable, something that also turned out to be fatally tragic for one man. And it could have implications for the former governor of Arizona, called upon by Barack Obama at the beginning of his term to take over the Department of Homeland Security.

At midnight on July 15, Arizona’s Department of Public Safety pulled the plug on dozens of speed cameras that criss-crossed state highways, part of a widely loathed program to catch traffic violators and control erratic driving. This at a time when every other government agency around the nation is steadily adopting as many enhanced security technologies as possible.

Outrage among residents over the cameras grew so severe that a technician who worked for the contractor hired to maintain the devices was shot to death last year. Other less-violent local tales of defiance include covering the cameras with boxes and Post-it Notes, disarming them with an axe, leaving tickets unpaid, or in the case of one driver, donning a monkey mask to foil attempts at identification. A politician from the area even said surveillance trends like speed cameras are an ominous sign that Obama and the federal government may eventually track drivers with microchips.

Janet Napolitano, one-time governor of the state, “famously” declared the camera system would generate $90 million in needed revenue from citations during its first year, according to the Arizona Republic. The total instead came in at $78 million after almost two years, a figure that still arguably makes the program a cash cow but nonetheless was cited as another reason for abandoning it.

Aggravation some Arizona residents expressed over the intrusive nature of the cameras poses an intriguing dilemma for Washington where Napolitano now leads a sprawling homeland security bureaucracy that probably does more to represent the idea of domestic surveillance – good or bad – than any other federal agency.

Ex-GOP state Rep. Sam Crump, who’s now making a bid for Congress, applauded Arizona’s move to end its speed-camera program calling it an abusive use of the technology and suggesting it would result in more spying from the government. “I can see the Obama administration putting a chip in every car and saying, ‘We’ll issue a ticket,’” if you break the law, the Republic quoted him as saying.

Redflex Traffic Systems, the company in charge of operating the cameras, warned gravely – and perhaps somewhat predictably – that if they were taken down, a segment of drivers would endanger the lives of others by becoming bold and reckless. The recent move doesn’t impact similar speed-camera systems maintained by local governments in Arizona since this case only involves a state-run network. But there have been attempts through a ballot initiative and legislation to ban them completely from state highways.

Instances exist elsewhere of towns fighting back against public-safety projects viewed as a threat to privacy. Local leaders in the tiny fishing village of Dillingham, Ala., used $200,000 in federal homeland security grants to blanket parts of the town with 80 surveillance cameras. Some residents complained about them so relentlessly that Dillingham’s mayor eventually resigned due to criticism.

Meanwhile, police in other cities across the country are continuing years-long campaigns to expand the use of such cameras, much of it fueled by anti-terrorism funds handed out by Washington. Or they’re deploying more sophisticated technologies that actually are capable of registering the GPS locations of innocent and guilty motorists alike, namely license-plate scanners.

New York City is among the leaders with its “ring of steel,” a plan announced in 2006 to install 3,000 public and private cameras alongside dozens of license-plates readers to guard Lower Manhattan against terrorists. Yet residents in the Big Apple learned recently that hundreds of cameras controlled by the city’s public transit authority didn’t actually work.

Police in Pittsburgh, on the other hand, say camera footage helped them identify two teenaged suspects allegedly behind the killing of a retired firefighter. Shortly afterward the mayor announced he wanted to use $12 million in Recovery Act funding for a project that would include 200 more cameras.

Surveillance devices can also aid in enforcing better conduct among public employees. Los Angeles installed them in the control cabs of metro trains to observe engineers after one operator, reportedly distracted by text messaging, was blamed in part for the gruesome 2008 Chatsworth accident that killed 25 people.

GOP Congressman Jeff Flake of Arizona blasts a $200,000 homeland security grant as wasteful. A tiny fishing village in Alaska used it to purchase surveillance cameras.


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kerryrose's avatar

By kerryrose, August 10, 2010 at 10:00 am Link to this comment


America’s prized health care system?  Do you know where it ranks in world order?  Do you know that it’s cost is unsustainable?

You are so worried and so scared.  Those ‘people’ dropping babies as a ruse to make you spend your money.

I think you are being wildly sidetracked from more substantial, but more complicated issues.  This is the American way, unfortunately.  Point the finger at a powerless person, say it is their fault, and the real power mongers who are robbing you blind get off without a fight.

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Money is funny's avatar

By Money is funny, August 9, 2010 at 10:20 pm Link to this comment


I would like to express my appreciation for your passion for babies because I also do not like to suggest that they could possibly be a burden.


Anchor Babies as they are often referred to are very real and represent a very real dilemma in regards to responding to illegal immigration.

Like most babies in the U.S.A. there is no plan for them beyond what their parents have available to provide for them.

It is with the utmost love and respect for these babies that I would suggest to you that they are being placed into a ill equipped, and often rejected welfare system that hardly exists.

Their vulnerable status puts them in a position to be exploited by a predatory system that likes to talk nice, but has no interest in providing for their comfort in our inflated cost of living.

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By dcampbell, August 9, 2010 at 8:18 pm Link to this comment

After reading several of the comments here I see that the anti immigrant tribe is
active. Lets start with some basics.
One of the posts says that about 350,000 babies per year are cross border
births.Do you have any facts for that claim?  Second, recognize that almost 40% of
all unauthorized immigrants do not come across the border.  They fly into a major
airport on a tourist visa. And, walk into the country.
The claim of a baby transit rush at the border is just fear mongering. And then some on the far
fringe right create a category like anchor baby.  Where did that come from? it is an
abusive term.  They are babies.- like all babies.
You need to reduce your fear.  Babies are born on both sides of the border. They
are babies. If born in the U.S, they are U.S. citizens by birth. Its the 14th
amendment to the constitution.
If reducing immigration is your goal, as opposed to stoking fears, then you need to look carefully at NAFTA and our trade deals.

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Peter Knopfler's avatar

By Peter Knopfler, August 9, 2010 at 6:00 pm Link to this comment

SMILE YOUR ON CANDID CAMERA! The minute you walk out your door, your public property, scannned scammed packaged and shelved, another Human scrap pile.When you leave make shore you look your best, everything in the right places, Yes!

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By gerard, August 9, 2010 at 2:19 pm Link to this comment

So many of these comments on Truthdig, about various subjects show plainly that many Americans are scared silly.  If it’s not this, it’s that.  And the suggestions for moderate solutions fair to all sides are significantly missing.  Many people seem to feel so threatened by other people that they are ready to enslave themselves in order to try to enslave others who offend them.  They seem to have entirely missed the fact that when one person is unjustly treated, all are in danger of being unjustly treated. They seem to have missed the inter-relation of all the various parts to the composite whole.  They have been cut off (or cut themselves off) from the web of humanity and are trying to survive on a desert island, alone, unfriendly and angry Crusoes with no Fridays to help them out.  And sadly, most of this agony is self-inflicted, irrespective of realities. It is also very easy to manipulate us when we feel so threatened and helpless. We need Papa Government, or Papa Religion, or Papa Security. Or Papa Know-Nothing. And, of course, Papa Gun.

Wearing political ear-muffs that hear only the loudest noises?  Take them off and hear birds sing.

Wearing dark glasses that filter out understanding of other points of view?  Remove them and see the sun filtering through the trees. 
Yours truly.

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By Tobysgirl, August 9, 2010 at 1:53 pm Link to this comment

purplewolf, I would point out to you that the people coming into the U.S. from Mexico look like native Americans to me.

What kind of people refer to other human beings as illegals? It’s as though it’s against the law for that person to exist. Gee, kind of like the attitude Europeans had toward all native Americans.

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By purplewolf, August 9, 2010 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment

This camera surveillance program was started by the Bush administration and not by Obama, unfortunately it has continued whereas it should have been ended. We have no privacy anymore. Why anyone would want to come to America, land of those spied upon by Big Brother, is beyond me. America, Land of Paranoia, is more like it.

As for anchor babies, other countries do not automatically accept babies born in their countries from illegals to be considered legal citizens of their countries, so why does America feel it has to. If you are of Native blood, born on a reservation in America, you are not considered an American citizen, as rezs are, in that situation considered a sovereign country, separate from America and therefore, those babies and original peoples are not entitles to all the perks the illegals have. Also, you are still property of the Dept. of Interior as the war dept. didn’t know what to do with the “Indian problem” and handed the indigenous peoples over to them to control. And for those who think that America ever paid for the stolen land or that NDNS get casino money and all kinds of other perks, forget it.The average Native American person in America on the rez lives on about $250.00 a year, hundred not thousand of dollars people, that is so far below poverty level it would be considered laughable if it were not so tragic.

When Haiti had their crisis last winter, our own Natives were hit by some of the worst storms and without electricity, fuel oil, heat, and other necessities needed to survive like food and water for about 6 weeks before a little bit of information reached the public about it and did our government help out here? NO. It was too busy going into other countries and inserting its nose into other countries problems while ignoring those here at home, unless you were an illegal anchor baby and then the red carpet was rolled out for them.

America, as usual has its priorities wrong, spying on its legal citizens looking for something that probably isn’t there in the first place, neglecting growing problems of anchor babies and interfering with the lives of people in other nations. Perhaps if they took care of the things that really needed to be done her, we wouldn’t need all these spy cameras to keep an eye on the masses, as the masses would not have anything to be upset about to cause a threat or disturbance about against the PTB. And think about all the money we could save and also many of these positions created to spy upon the American public are farmed out to people in other countries, who many times hate America and it’s people to begin with and do nothing to create jobs here.

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By wildflower, August 9, 2010 at 1:22 pm Link to this comment

Re Richard Roe: “There is only one place these cameras should be installed and that’s in the offices of our elected representatives. Perhaps then they will be useful in “enforcing better conduct among public employees.”

But most of our elected officials are seldom in their “seats” and offices. They are more likely to be found in corporate jets, yachts, penthouses, luxury hotels, and expensive restaurants chomping away on expensive meals so maybe microchips will be the way to go – if they object, too bad. Microchips go with the job.

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BR549's avatar

By BR549, August 9, 2010 at 12:58 pm Link to this comment

1. If both parents are of foreign citizenship, that child should have either one or both of its parents’ foreign citizenships and not be eligible for US citizenship until possibly age 18, when old enough to apply on its own ...... the regular and legal way.

2. The parents should learn that the free lunch ticket window just slammed shut. Go home and help start a free lunch program back wherever the hell you came from. We’re plum out.

3. Obama doesn’t have the legal right to sign anything in this regard anyway, so they should save themselves the disappointment and just go back on their own. As criminals, the fathers would sent to workcamps to do hard labor and the mothers would take their kids to prison with them so they could be brought up in a prison day-care environment, while the mother sweat in some prison laundry room for her sentence. After their sentences, they all get released with enough of the money they’d already worked off to get a ticket back to the border.

4. Anyone hiring illegal workers faces mandatory imprisonment and a total confiscation of all the assets associated with the business where the illegals had worked.

NOW ...... wouldn’t it be easier to just stay the FCUK home?

I hate to sound so insensitive but between these asshole politicians who have known about this problem for decades and done NOTHING ..... and these illegals who come into this country and demand their country back, just wait till the body of average US citizens wakes up and starts taking matters into their own hands.

ARIZONA - The Patriot state - keep up the good work. The rest of the country is soon to be right behind you!!!!!!!

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By Scorpionet, August 9, 2010 at 12:05 pm Link to this comment

There are at least a 12-year wait to get into the US legally. So some of you think
jumping the line is the proper thing to do. Maybe you should ask those waiting in
line what they think?

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By Brittanicus, August 9, 2010 at 11:38 am Link to this comment


It’s very difficult to discover any significant information about the scourge of the 14th Amendment, as we have today. This is principally because information has never been collected intentionally or otherwise, so we must rely on what is available; buried deeply in the pages of the internet? FOR MORE OPPRESSIVE FACTS, GO TO THIS PDF WEBPAGE? A report by Madeleine Pelner Cosman in the spring issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons 2005., It augments from a small fire that is turning into a conflagration. She says, “By not addressing this abuse of the Fourteenth Amendment and enforcing immigration law, the funds that state and local governments must provide to anchor babies amounts to a virtual tax on U.S. citizens to subsidize illegal aliens.

The increasing number of illegal aliens coming into the United States is forcing the closure of hospitals, spreading previously vanquished diseases and threatening to destroy America’s prized health-care system,” The author writes, ““born to illegal aliens instantly qualify as citizens for welfare benefits and have caused enormous rises in Medicaid costs and stipends under Supplemental Security Income and Disability Income.” She adds that Under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act of 1985, hospitals are obligated to treat the uninsured without reimbursement. “Illegal alien women come to the hospital in labor and drop their little anchors, each of whom pulls its illegal alien mother, father, and siblings into permanent residency simply by being born within our borders.

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By Brittanicus, August 9, 2010 at 11:37 am Link to this comment

Anchor babies are citizens, and instantly qualify for public welfare aid: Between 300,000 and 350,000 anchor babies annually become citizens because of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside.” In conclusion The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons report includes a strong prescription for protecting the health of Americans:

  * Closing America’s borders with fences, high-tech security devices and troops. (But remember the real 2006 Secure Fence Act, was designed as two parallel fences. Not just—ONE—?  It doesn’t seem to be turning on a light bulb in America’s brain, that two fences were supposed to be constructed adjacent to each other, with a roadway in between for interdiction of every type of criminal, including the millions of illegal aliens.) It’s time this question is asked of Senator Harry Reid and the dismantling of permanent E-Verify?
  * Rescinding the U.S. citizenship of “anchor babies.”
  * Punishing the aiding and abetting of illegal aliens as a crime. (That means employers with a prison sentence for habitual offenders.)
  * An end to—ALL—amnesty programs. ( Declare ALL Sanctuary Cities are violation of federal law,  and those involved prosecuted.)

It should be noted that based on data collected in California for AFDC’s “children only” cases, the California Department of Social Services estimated that in fiscal 1994-1995, 193,800 children of illegal aliens received welfare, costing $553 million. One should wonder the ever increasing costs of supporting the anchor child, as food stamps and Section 8 housing can be applied for. One should wonder the ever increasing costs of supporting the anchor child, as food stamps and Section 8 housing can be applied for. One should also be aware that the mother, who is always allowed to stay, probably becomes pregnant at least twice more, of which the US taxpayer once again becomes the benefactor. In addition because the family is low income, they can apply for TANF, of which the baby receives a free car chair, diapers and much more compliments of Americans.

There are various undisclosed federal and state entitlement, which are denied to American mothers because our politicians are too busy catering to the less fortunate. This exploitation of the 14th Amendment is not necessary from expectant mothers from across the Southern border, but every year thousands converge on the unknowing taxpayer who coughs up the money to pay for subsidizing the life’s of whole families, after a new anchor baby is born. This unwholesome situation would become far worse as any new hype for AMNESTY, would induce millions more to reach the borders, plus the stream would never end. To stop any more illegals coming to America, we must first remove every Pro-Amnesty lawmaker, then implement permanently E-Verify and place troops on the border. Learn more at NUMBERUSA & JUDICIAL WATCH and call without delay your public servants in Washington at 202-224-3121

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By "G"utless "W"itless Hitler, August 9, 2010 at 10:52 am Link to this comment

Fools!  What reason have ye for discontent?  Are not pet foods varied and plentiful?

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By richard roe, August 9, 2010 at 10:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


Having been in Dillingham, AK, I can state that spending $200,000.00 to install 80 cameras in a fishing village of, at most, 5,000 people is beyond absurd. Are they afraid someone will steal a salmon?

There is only one place these cameras should be installed and that’s in the offices of our elected representatives. Perhaps then they will be useful in “enforcing better conduct among public employees”

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By gerard, August 9, 2010 at 9:23 am Link to this comment

Can us cowards out here hope that the “surveillance system” will run itself into the ground due to its own excesses and we won’t actually have to DO anything to bring it down?  O Happy Day!

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By omop, August 9, 2010 at 7:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This whole melodramatic issue needs some out of the box resolution.

  And the following is submitted as requiring study.

  Have the President issue a resolution stating that, ” all illegal immigrants will
henceforth be put into prisons and the expenses incurred in their incarceration
will be charged to their respective country’s government”.

  The primary authorities responsible for preventing “illegal” immigration into the
US are the governments from where the immigrants enter the US.

  Its simple and workable. Major costs will be borne by others.

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By samosamo, August 9, 2010 at 7:15 am Link to this comment


““This at a time when every other government agency around the
nation is steadily adopting as many enhanced security
technologies as possible.”“
WOW!!!! Guess we will ever be too secure. So I guess now a
program of hourly or quarter-hourly check-ins, people will have
to ‘check-in’ to maintain a rigid secure sense of security on the
pretenses of total security. Those clowns at the ministry of truth
sure know their marketing.

Since orwell wrote up his plans of ‘1984’, and never imagining
that future paranoids in an oligarchy would read it and
implement his ideas, how could anyone ever have thought that
something like this would never happen, that such orwellian
double speak could be held back. And gosh amighty, a cash cow
to boot. Wonder where that cash cow will be sent to graze and
excrete its daily load or should I say which corporation will milk
it for all it’s worth.

You go Arizona. You seem to be a last bastion where people are
less willing to put up with the idiotic shenanigans of a run amok
paranoid corporate america government. Priority number one is
to never exhaust the endless ways to to keep filling the ‘elite’s
pockets’ at the expense of people wanting to live a life.

Obviously just more ‘make the people scared’ and they will
willingly accept more and more repressive and restrictive
measures in the idea those measures are protecting them.

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By Robburke, August 9, 2010 at 6:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Like they always say in these comment boards,“ILLIGAL IS ILLEGAL. What part of that don’t you understand?”

Apparently in Arizona that only applies to undocumented immigrants, not reckless drivers and speeders. The self-righteous Arizonans who want police-state tactics applied to other people see nothing wrong in breaking the law themselves, and then breaking more laws by destroying the equipment which might detect their first crime.

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By wildflower, August 9, 2010 at 6:25 am Link to this comment

RE SCHULZ: “Surveillance devices can also aid in enforcing better conduct among public employees.”

Hmmmm .  .  . I wonder if surveillance devices could also aid in enforcing better conduct among our elected officials - shown 24-7 on CSPAN, of course?

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kerryrose's avatar

By kerryrose, August 9, 2010 at 3:51 am Link to this comment

Maybe the loss of cameras will protect the policeman who make the illegal stops to confirm citizenship.

The cameras were taken down at the same time the illegal activity for the policeman is to go into effect.

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