Statement by Deece Eckstein at the House Committee on Administration Hearing Titled “Securing the Vote” in Phoenix, AZ on August 3, 2006
We’re proud to be here today with such a broad spectrum of organizations. And we’re glad the House Administration Committee is here to learn more about the effect of Proposition 200 on Arizona, although we wish they’d allow real public input and not just create this political theater to promote their anti-voter, anti-immigrant agenda.
We’re all familiar with the phrase, “a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” but it is inadequate to this situation. The fact of the matter is that Proposition 200 has been a bear in wolf’s clothing. It already had an ignoble purpose – to punish and discourage immigrants from coming to our great country – but its application has been even more dastardly than even its most rabid supporters anticipated. Proposals like Proposition 200 only serve to disenfranchise eligible voters. Voter fraud is not the problem and proponents of these types of measures know that. They’re simply trying to capitalize upon repugnant anti-immigrant sentiments and use that to pass measures similar to Proposition 200.
Let’s use a little common sense here. If you’re an undocumented worker in the United States, the last thing you’re going to do is try to vote. Walk right up to a government official who you think might ask for your documents? Please. This is obviously an election-year attempt to raise bogus fears and divert attention from the real issue: the millions of undocumented workers who are crucial to our economy but have no way to work here legally.
We hope the committee will take this information to heart, but we fear that it will not. Like 37 other immigration hearings scheduled around the country, this hearing is not really being held to educate the Congress about the issues. Rather, it is being held to play upon people’s fears by creating this concept of massive voter fraud and then providing a solution that is worse than the fabricated problem and to drum up support for an anti-immigrant, enforcement-only approach that will leave our borders no more secure, our cities and towns no safer, and our economy no stronger than before.
Listen up: what is needed is commonsense, comprehensive immigration reform that strengthens our borders, recognizes the important role of immigrants in our economy, provides a pathway to citizenship, reunites families and respects the rule of law.
We call on these members of Congress to quit wasting their time and the taxpayers’ dollars on these hearings, go back to Washington, and do the job the American people elected you to do: protect the right to vote and pass smart immigration reform. The American people elected you; they reserve the right to un-elect you.
Deece Eckstein is the Director of PFAW’s Texas and Southwest Regional Office