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JOHN KING, USA
Illegal Immigration Debate
Aired July 28, 2010 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN KING, HOST: Thanks, Suzanne and good evening tonight from ground zero in the nation's debate over illegal immigration, the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix, a major legal victory today for the Obama administration. A federal judge issued an injunction that blocks Arizona from implementing key provisions of its new state immigration law.
But the ruling did nothing, nothing to quiet the emotional political debate, quite to the contrary. The law's conservative supporters vow to fight on in the courts and the legislature. And they promise this issue will be front and center in this November's major campaigns here in Arizona and elsewhere. In the hour ahead, we'll dig deep on what the ruling says, what it doesn't say, and what happens next in this important legal fight.
And we'll look at the heated political reaction across Arizona and across the country. Arizona's Attorney General Terry Goddard is truly a man caught in the middle of this debate legally and politically. His office would be charged with enforcing the new law, but Goddard personally opposes it. He's also seeking the Democratic nomination for governor and if successful, would likely face immigration law supporter, the Republican governor, Jan Brewer, come November.
Also with us our national political correspondent Jessica Yellin who has been on the ground here all week working this story. General Goddard, to you first, the politics of this crackled immediately after the decision. Here's what Governor Brewer said about you today. Said, "Terry Goddard is the John Kerry of Arizona. It is impossible to keep up with his position on SB 1070 -- that's the law -- because it keeps changing."
TERRY GODDARD (D), ARIZONA ATTORNEY GENERAL: I've been absolutely consistent and, you know, I can understand the governor's pique at losing this case and wanting to kick the cat or thrash out in some way, but I've never done any wind surfing in my life so I think the John Kerry analogy is absolutely inappropriate. But the bottom line is I think -- I respect what you said, emotions are high. Obviously, this is a very intense matter of concern in Arizona. But I think the judge's ruling, however many pages we have here, 36 --
KING: Longer than the law itself.
GODDARD: -- gives -- longer than the law itself -- gives us a blessed chance to pause, reflect, look at the real issues that I think stimulated 1070 in the first place and that was frustration over the federal failure to have immigration -- a sensible or working immigration system and also our concern here in Arizona about the security of the border. We have very, very seriously threatening organized criminal cartels south of the border and we need to fight against them.
KING: Do you see any pausing, Jessica, and any reflection in this debate?
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I don't see any reduction of temperatures or reduction of tensions -- temperatures (INAUDIBLE) right.
YELLIN: I'm curious, sir, the majority of voters in this state support the law. So as a law enforcement official, why do you oppose it?
GODDARD: Well, it's exactly because I'm a law enforcement official that I do oppose it. We urge the governor to veto it. And the reason is this, first, by Jan Brewer's own admission it does absolutely nothing to curb the crime on the border. It's irrelevant to that discussion, which I think is very important to Arizona today. And second, it's an unfunded mandate (INAUDIBLE) suspend it from local law enforcement and third, it cuts to the heart of community policing, which is one of the ways we've lowered the crime rate in Arizona every year for the last 10 years.
YELLIN: Can I just add I've been here and I saw yesterday a line of hundreds of people around the Mexican consulate, getting papers, preparing to go back? That might be personally hard for them, but isn't it a sign that even the threat of this law is somehow working?
GODDARD: Well I think the threat has had a significant (INAUDIBLE) as did the employers sanctions law that was passed and my office defended earlier. Certainly some people have felt that this is an unwelcome place to be. But the bottom line that the judge makes clear in this ruling is we are a country of laws and a Constitution and there are certain things that the states can't jump into with impunity.
KING: And yet --
GODDARD: Immigration is one of them.
KING: And yet one of the more controversial law enforcement leaders in this state, the Maricopa county sheriff, Joe Arpaio, he looks at the decision and he said yes, the judge denied him one or two new tools, new state laws, state vehicles for enforcement like a misdemeanor that if you don't have your papers on you, you can be held by the -- in a state or a county prison. But he says he will be out tomorrow morning, his 17th sweep in two and a half years, looking for criminals, and specifically looking for illegal immigrants. I want you to listen to Sheriff Arpaio.
SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA: It's a big difference when you say require, that means order, but it can still be done but you can't force someone to do it.
KING: So if your guys go out and they say they weren't required, they weren't forced, and they did this, aren't a lot of your cases going to end up in court now being challenged based on this injunction?
ARPAIO: No, you say that they're required to do; well we don't have to require people to do it. They know to enforce the laws. We've been doing it for three years. We have specialty units that go after human smuggling, employer sanctions, which isn't part of this lawsuit.
KING: The judge also said she believes the federal government will win on the point, arguing that Arizona, a state, cannot create a requirement. That it's a violation. If you're not carrying some sort of registration papers, that that's the federal government's job.
ARPAIO: Well we'll see what happens. That's her opinion. I'm not going to contest her opinion. But I can say we've been enforcing these laws on other state laws. It's been up to courts. Courts have always ruled in our favor. So we'll continue to do it.
KING: So what is different than on Thursday? Because of this injunction, as opposed to had the law been allowed to go into effect in full force?
ARPAIO: I think the only difference (INAUDIBLE) would be that we just have a little extra tool when we come across an illegal alien that doesn't have another state charge. And that's -- that doesn't happen that often. But we do show that that person is here illegally under the new law, misdemeanor that we could book them into the jail in lieu of turning them over to Immigration and Customs.
KING: And so if it's only a little difference, the critics out there would argue then why did you need this law? Why did you have to put the state and the country through this debate if it doesn't make that much of a difference?
ARPAIO: That's my opinion. I'm not running this whole state or this whole country. That's my opinion because we are the only law enforcement agency enforcing all aspects of that human smuggling and the employer sanctions. Those laws are on the books. And my point is if you have a law on the book, it should be enforced.
KING: So you will wake up tomorrow and enforce the laws as they are today. You're not going to try to challenge this judge in any way, are you?
ARPAIO: No, I'm not going to enforce that law, put people in jail that she disagrees with under a new state misdemeanor law. I'm not going to do that. I don't have to do that. We've been doing our job on other laws and we will continue to do it. (END VIDEOTAPE)
KING: And so Sheriff Arpaio says he'll be out there tomorrow. He'll round them up. He says 60 percent of those he picks up are illegal immigrants and his guys will ask them for their papers, are you here legally. Can he do that?
GODDARD: He's been doing it and I believe he can if he has -- and this is critical, if he has a valid investigative purpose in bringing people before the sheriff. He also -- anybody that's booked into the county jail is checked for the immigration status. The Phoenix Police Department has a standard that they've been implementing which basically again says if we have a valid investigative reason for inquiring of somebody, then they can take the next step if they think that it's possible that they're not here legally. I'm not going to criticize the sheriff. I've got a beautiful pair of pink underwear that he gave me --
KING: I have a pair as well.
GODDARD: That's inscribed to the greatest attorney general -- I bet yours doesn't say this -- in the United States.
KING: No it doesn't --
GODDARD: But the bottom line, I think he makes a point, is that we can argue -- and I'd be happy to argue about whether his approach is the most effective for going after the smuggling problem of people into the United States. I believe it's far better to go after the organized criminals and stop the whole organization. The sheriff likes to do the sweeps and he picks up a lot of people that unfortunately get caught in those sweeps, unfortunate for them. It's a very different way of approaching the problem that we're facing here in Arizona.
KING: I want you to listen to one last thing the governor said in reaction to this decision because she said the fight will go on. She called it a bump in the road. She says she'll continue to fight it in the courts and she lashed out at the federal government.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JAN BREWER (R), ARIZONA: I believe the federal government got relief from the court to not to do their job. And that means that now they've got this temporary injunction. They need to step up -- the feds do -- and do the job that they have the responsibility to do for the people of America and for the people of Arizona.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Do you agree with her on that one point that the federal government is not doing its job?
GODDARD: I agree with that statement. I think Governor Brewer and I disagree on exactly what we mean by it. I want to make it very clear we've got a broken immigration system. It's been floundering with, really, no direction without enforcement for almost 20 years. And the bottom line is we need to fix that --
KING: -- would include some sort of status for those here illegally now?
GODDARD: Absolutely. The first thing would be to get the folks that are here illegally out of the shadows. I think what Arizona is saying --
KING: A critic would say amnesty.
GODDARD: No, no, wait a minute, I'm not going there yet. I'm saying that we have people that are working in our economy who are not legal, who are not documented. I think the first thing we want to do is to make sure we know who they are. And that they are in a process so that they can be legal workers, a visa process, which has not been available to them in the past.
We've built the Arizona economy and other economies in the southwest based on immigrant labor, but the State Department never changed the visa requirements, so those folks came across, lived in this economy, contributed, often raised their families here, but did not have a chance to become legal. We need to give them that chance so that they are legal workers --
YELLIN: General, you're a Democrat, so let me put a point on this. Are you saying the Obama administration is not doing its job?
GODDARD: I think Congress is not doing their job and I don't care what party they are --
YELLIN: But the Executive Branch --
GODDARD: -- and I want the Obama administration and again, I think they have been lax in not getting immigration reform to the Congress. Arizona has said two things in polls that I've seen recently. One is that they support 1070. The other is that they support immigration reform, but even higher numbers, so what I think people are saying here -- I have no question what people are saying here -- is fix it. We've got a broken system.
We've got people working in the economy who are here illegally and we want to see some action. And now I think what the judge has done, very clearly, has said you, state of Arizona, can't do it. Now the burden is back on the federal government, to Congress, to do it. And we start with our own congressmen, our own senators from Arizona, I believe need to get off the dime and get serious about immigration reform.
KING: Attorney General Terry Goddard, we thank you for your time tonight.
GODDARD: Thank you.
KING: We'll keep in touch the next few days while we're here as we watch this play out. And when we come out, immigration, not just in the governor's race. It's one of the hottest issues in a crackling U.S. Senate race (INAUDIBLE). Next the man challenging John McCain from the right, former Congressman J.D. Hayworth. Don't go anywhere.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Hey we're going to take a break and try to get audio fixed with John King right now. Right now I think we're going to go to Jessica Yellin who happens to be out there and about and talk to her just a bit about the situation in Arizona. Jessica, are you with me?
YELLIN: Hi, Joe, I can hear you and --
KING: Sorry about that, Joe, a little bit of juggle here, minor technical glitch. We're back live at the Arizona State Capitol; continue our coverage of this breaking news story. A federal judge issuing an injunction that blocks many key provisions of the Arizona immigration law. With us to have the conversation, J.D. Hayworth, the former Republican member of Congress, now challenging Senator John McCain in the Republican primary a little under a month away.
And still with us, our national political correspondent Jessica Yellin. I want to read you a statement from the two incumbent Republican senators, Jon Kyl, and your opponent, John McCain about this judge's ruling today. They said together, "instead of wasting taxpayer resources, filing a lawsuit against Arizona, and complaining that the law would be burdensome, the Obama administration should have focused its efforts on working with Congress to provide the necessary resources to support the state in its efforts to act where the federal government has failed to take responsibility." Might this be one day on the campaign where you agree with John McCain?
J.D. HAYWORTH (R), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Well I agree partially. I look back, John, five years ago. If John McCain and Jon Kyl had signed on with me, with the enforcement first act, to enforce existing federal immigration law across the country, there would never need -- been a need for a Senate Bill 1070 here in Arizona. And the failure of Congress to act prompted a lot of people to ask me to run for the United States Senate and prompted the Arizona legislature to take what I think was very sensible action that, shamefully today, was struck down by Judge Bolton.
KING: And yet, if you go to Washington, not just the administration, but some members of Congress say yes, the federal government is not doing anything near where it should do along the border, but they would say that it is doing more now than it was in the Bush administration that border enforcement is up, that more National Guard troops are there, that more border patrol duty have been hired.
Your former governor, Janet Napolitano, is now the Homeland Security secretary. Her department said this today. "This administration has dedicated unprecedented resources to secure the border and we will continue to work to take decisive action to disrupt criminal organizations and the networks they exploit."
HAYWORTH: John, this is not a question of Republican versus Democrat. This is not a question of left versus right. It's a question of right versus wrong. And the fact is, in Washington, D.C., whether it's Barack Obama or Janet Napolitano or John McCain, so many people in Washington view this as a political problem to be managed, instead of seeing it as we see it here in Arizona, and as many Americans see it, this is an invasion, a national security threat, and an economic security threat that we have to stop.
YELLIN: Yesterday, actually Monday, I interviewed an illegal woman here who was fleeing Arizona in advance of the law and going to Los Angeles. So my question is, if you're just pushing the problem to another state, are we really helping the nation?
HAYWORTH: Well, Arizona can take the action, Jessica, as you and I have discussed before. Other states will take a look at mounting this kind of action. I wanted to do federal action five years ago. When I return to the United States Senate, and I believe elections have a very real way of clarifying things, I believe there will be a new impetus to actually have laws on the books that are enforced that are enforceable, that say no to amnesty, yes to enforcement, and that's what I think is going to be the key.
KING: You just heard the attorney general, and there are voices like him all across the country, Mayor Bloomberg in New York, many members of Congress, until recently you're right, the McCain/Kennedy bill or the McCain/Bush/Kennedy bill, Senator McCain saying, look, it's wrong that there are 12 million or more illegal immigrants in this country.
But you'll never be able to round them all up. You can't afford the resources it would take to round them up, kick them out, would tie up the court system forever and keep cops from doing what they need to do fighting crime. If you get the border security you want, are you willing to have the conversation about letting people stay, if they pay a fine, pay taxes?
HAYWORTH: Now, imagine what that would do, John. Tried that once before in history. It was an absolute mistake. All it did was bring more people into the country. It's amnesty and under any condition amnesty is wrong. And this is where I still have a major problem with John McCain and one of the reasons so many Arizona conservatives asked me to challenge him.
John still uses the poll-driven talk we must secure the border first. Then he goes right back to comprehensive immigration reform. John, that's amnesty and now he and Mr. Obama want to try to change the language yet again. Look in the coming days for the term "regularize". To regularize the status of illegals. That is dead wrong. People want our laws enforced.
And there's been a strawman argument set up when people say well we're not going to deport 12 to 14 million. Of course not. When you enforce the law, people obey the law. That's the key thing that seems to be lost in this discussion.
KING: In this building there are many conservative lawmakers who say let's move on to other fights, denying citizenship, health care, other rights to people who are here illegally. Should the Arizona legislature call time-out in this battle and let this case make it through the courts because there are state's rights issues at play or should it continue to press ahead?
HAYWORTH: I wouldn't presume to tell the Arizona legislature what to do as a citizen, I welcome the fact that Arizona stepped up to answer the call. As the next senator from Arizona, I will reintroduce the Enforcement First Act and when I hear John McCain and Jon Kyl talk about the 10-point plan, they're the only two sponsors. Joe Lieberman has not scheduled any type of markup that's a political document which takes us back to the fundamental problem.
People on the right and the left, Republicans, Democrats, view this as a political problem. It's not. It's a national security threat, an economic security threat. And here in Arizona an invasion that must be stopped.
KING: J.D. Hayworth, a little less than a month to go in the primary. All the best. Just note for the record because of your confidence, trailing in the polls at the moment.
HAYWORTH: It's OK. We're coming back.
KING: All right. Congressman Hayworth, thank you. Jessica will be with us later in the program. When we come back though, we go "One-on-One" with the controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He says despite the judge's ruling tomorrow morning he'll be on the street, business as usual trying to round up illegal immigrants.
In our "Play-by-Play", the "Star Wars" version of it -- John McCain ad that says, complete the dang fence. And if you were picking the cabinet, who would be the secretary of soul? And Pete on the street tonight, he is in the Melting Pot, Manhattan's Washington Heights talking immigration with its staff of immigrants.
KING: Back live, still at the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix. Continuing our conversation about the legal and political fallout, now that a judge has told the state of Arizona it cannot implement key provisions of its controversial new immigration law. Let's bring into the conversation our senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin; he's in New York, and our senior political analyst Gloria Borger is in Washington.
Jeffrey I want to start with you because I want to tell our viewers and have you explain why this judge has decided key parts of this law cannot be implemented. Here's what Arizona cannot do when this law effects tomorrow. It cannot require officers to determine the immigration status of someone, even if they believe they have reasonable suspicion to ask those questions. Arizona cannot require verification of immigration status after arrest and cannot criminalize the failure to apply for or carry alien registration papers. And the state was denied the right, at least temporarily, to make it a crime for an unauthorized alien to solicit, apply or perform work. Jeffrey, on what grounds did the judge say at least temporarily she believed the federal government had the upper hand here?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SR. LEGAL ANALYST: The judge agreed with the Obama administration's argument that these provisions, which you just outlined, invade the federal government's primary responsibility for enforcing immigration laws. Fundamentally what the judge said was these areas are federal responsibilities and the Arizona law went too far in invading this federal turf.
KING: And so then what impact will it have? And I just want to note for the record, this is a judge appointed by President Clinton to the federal bench, but at the recommendation of Arizona's conservative Republican Senator Jon Kyl. What effect, Jeffrey, will it have and Gloria, please jump into the conversation, if you look at a map of the country right now, a number of states, at least five, have proposed laws that essentially mirror the Arizona law.
Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Minnesota, South Carolina and Michigan, none are due to advance this year, and all across the state, there are hundreds of pieces of legislation and resolutions on immigration being dealt with. Gloria, first to you, do you see a pause in that political argument or will these states actually take this as an incentive, the conservative forces in those states and say, let's keep pushing?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: I think the latter, John. I think you know in talking to Republicans today, they say, look this ruling in a perverse way will bring out -- even though they lost -- it will bring out the Republican base. It kind of reinforces their message that Washington doesn't know best. Leave things up to the states and plays into their message about the heavy handed, kind of arrogance, if you will, of the Obama administration that thinks it knows better than everyone else, and so I think they're going to go full steam ahead.
KING: Jeff, anything in the history, in your experience -- go ahead.
TOOBIN: Well, I just think full steam ahead is exactly how Republicans are going to proceed. And I think it underlines why the United States Supreme Court is going to have to take up this issue sooner rather than later. Because this is a big national controversy. It's a major constitutional conflict between states and the federal government. This is why we have a Supreme Court. And I think they're going to take it up this term.
BORGER: And, John, you know --
KING: And Gloria, as we wait for this case and others to make it up through the court, as we wait for this case to make it up, it's playing out in campaigns all across the country this year. I want you to listen to just a sample of some of the ads out there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is illegal immigration really a problem in Tennessee? You better believe it is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jerry Moran believes we should secure the borders, enforce our laws and send lawbreakers to the back of the line.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Gloria, this will not stop that, will it? Sharp advertising, tough fights on immigration.
BORGER: Look, the reason we don't have any immigration policy is because it's such an easy issue to demagogue. I mean just ask John McCain who once teamed up with Ted Kennedy, right, to pass immigration legislation. Ask George W. Bush, you can't do it. Harry Reid of Nevada, it's good for him in Nevada, wants to pass immigration can't get a Republican on board with him.
So, you know, this is an issue that's going to play out in many different ways, John, because it splits Democrats and it splits Republicans. There's no unanimity even within each party on how to proceed.
KING: Jeff and Gloria, appreciate the insights tonight.
Next when we come back, "One-on-One" with the controversial Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. What will he do differently tomorrow because of today's ruling? See you in a minute.
ANNOUNCER: It's time to go "One on One."
KING: If you follow the immigration debate here in Arizona or across the country, you've heard the name Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He's the sheriff of Maricopa County right here in the Phoenix area in Arizona.
To those who want a tough crackdown on illegal immigrant, he is a hero. Many, though, think his tactics are insensitive. Some say they even violate the constitutional rights.
So what now that a judge has said some key provisions of the new Arizona law cannot be implemented?
Sheriff Joe says he and his deputies will be out on the street tomorrow, business as usual.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KING (on camera): Had you been allowed to fully enforce the law, do you think it would have made a big difference in terms of the number of illegal immigrants coming in to Arizona or coming into your custody once they're in Arizona? Or was it more a statement?
Many critics say it's the set of tone to make clear, if you don't get it already, you're not welcome here.
SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA: Well, thanks to the news media that's here from all over the world that have passed the message out. Really -- I'm not saying perpetuated this situation. You have a job to do.
I think you're sending a message out about this new law. And people are becoming concerned and they're leaving. They're leaving. I don't think they're going to come back because of this decision.
I think they're probably very angry that the judge did not throw out this whole law, and don't forget, we still have officers in our jail that have been trained by Homeland Security that investigates everyone booked into that jail.
So any police officer that arrests anyone on a criminal violation, we're still going to investigate and show they're here illegally.
KING: And so for those who watch Sheriff Joe Arpaio and say, here's the guy who is very aggressive, and some don't like that, others do, will you be any different tomorrow than you are today because of this ruling?
ARPAIO: No. Except we're not going to enforce that one part that I mentioned about that misdemeanor, asking for papers. That type of thing. No. It's going to be business as usual.
We don't do things that are illegal. I don't do that. I know the Department of Justice, 60 days into the Obama administration, launched the investigations, alleged civil rights, and it's been a year and a half.
You know our record, what we've been doing. So I'm very confident in our deputy sheriffs, how they enforce these laws. I have no concern whatsoever.
KING: And, again, when the federal government cites statistics and says, you know, there are more guys on the border than ever before. There's less major crime along the border than ever before. This is an overreaction --
ARPAIO: I guess you're talking about the U.S. side. Not across the border where you have all the violence, murders and everything else. And I guess -- I guess maybe the federal feels they're right because if they only send in 1200 National Guard and you divide that by three, you think that's really a big force to send down to the border?
So maybe they say they're doing such a great job. They don't need more than 1200 National Guard but they are not doing a great job. They're trying.
What I would like the federal government to do, quite honestly, being a former federal law enforcement official in Mexico, why don't they just say, thank you, Sheriff, let's join forces? We cannot do this job alone. We need local law enforcement to work together.
The feds can't do this job alone. They know it. The people know it. But why are they fighting us? Why don't we join together? We go after bank robberies, federal illegal gun, ATF. We do all these other federal laws.
But why is it this one law, this other federal law, causes so much controversy from the White House all the way down to the streets of Phoenix? I don't understand that.
KING: What do you think the answer is?
KING: What's the answer?
ARPAIO: Well, I'll tell you what the answer is. They want amnesty. Employers want to keep hiring cheap labor. And the politicians want to make sure they get the Hispanic vote. Everybody -- doesn't everybody know that?
KING: You think it's nothing but that? Cold raw politics and economics --
ARPAIO: That's just my -- being around with the feds for 30 years and 17 years, I just got that. My own opinion. But I think -- I think if you really value -- people were honest, I think they would say, yes, you know, Sheriff, you got a point there.
KING: Sheriff, thanks for your time.
ARPAIO: Thank you.
KING: Appreciate it.
KING: It's important to know that immigrants all across the country are paying close attention to events here in Arizona. Later, we'll get one group's reaction.
But up next, today's "Most Important Person You Don't Know" used to be the chief deputy in the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department. But in his new job he wrote something that stirred up a huge national controversy.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: Welcome back. Let's check in with Joe Johns for the news you need to know right now.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, John.
President Obama is attending fund-raisers in New York City this evening. Earlier, at a New Jersey sandwich shop, he called on the Senate to pass a bill of tax breaks for small business owners. It's still stalled.
He also taped an interview with the ladies of "The View" making him the first sitting president to appear on a daytime TV talk show.
And here's a story to watch tomorrow. The House Ethics Committee will make public its report on Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel's alleged ethics violation.
That is certainly a story to watch. And you are right on ground zero on a story that everybody is watching, John, in Arizona. The issue of immigration.
Probably hot too out there, isn't it?
KING: It is a little bit warm, Joe. Today's "Most Important Person You Don't Know" is the author of this state's controversial immigration law. He's Republican state Senator Russell Pearce. And he's a real law and order guy. What else would you expect from a 23- year veteran of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department here in Phoenix?
One time, he was shot and critically wounded by a gang member. Another time, one of his grown sons, also in the sheriff's department, was shot and critically wounded by an illegal alien.
Not only are the Pearce survivors, their deep Arizona roots go deep. A great, great grandfather built the Pearce Ferry on Lake Meade. Pearce's great grandfather founded Tailor Arizona in the 1860s. A great uncle was an Arizona ranger.
Now the courts will decide whether Russell Pearce leaves his own unique mark on this state's history.
And on that point, let's bring in our great panel to discuss it. Jessica Yellin, our national political correspondent. Ed Montini, he's a columnist of the "Arizona Republic." CNN's Espanol's Juan Carlos Lopez.
Ed, let me start with you. Russell Pearce is the father of this legislation.
E.J. MONTINI, COLUMNIST, THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Right.
KING: How has he changed the debate --
MONTINI: You shouldn't call him the author. You should call him the sponsor because somebody who actually knows the law wrote it.
Russell -- the interesting thing about this law, and I think even Russell would admit this, today they've already had their victory. I mean, SB 1070 I don't think was ever really meant to go into effect.
It was meant to frighten people. And it worked. It frightened people when it was passed. The same thing will happen with laws that are coming up that are going to have to do with birth right, that are going to have to do with education.
I mean that's the plan. The plan is not necessarily to have these things goes into effect. Because if they actually did go into effect, we would see that they -- that they're ineffective, they don't work. You know this is -- this was purely a public relations kind of law.
KING: Is that how it's viewed in the community, that the details don't matter, this is essentially a message to illegals, get out?
JUAN CARLOS LOPEZ, CNN ON ESPANOL SR. CORRESPONDENT: It was seen as a message to Latinos, not only illegals, because the law would have or could have put legal residents, U.S. citizens, several generations in this part of the country, under possible regional suspicion. So people were afraid of it because it wasn't only targeted at an illegal immigrant.
KING: You had a conversation with Senator Pearce, setback today, but what next?
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he says he plans to fight on. In fact, he wants the fight. He said he wrote this specifically so that it would go to the U.S. Supreme Court. I welcome that battle, he said, because he wants this law to be upheld by the Supreme Court so it can be passed in other states.
He plans to fight on.
KING: Let's continue with stories on my radar including the governor. She signed the bill. She had to think about it a little bit. But it's put Governor Jan Brewer on the national political radar.
So it's perhaps inevitable before some of her fans started boosting Jan Brewer for president. We found a Facebook page that already has 500 fans. That's probably not enough to get you terribly far, but this --
MONTINI: I don't think so. No.
KING: The president's page is probably a bit of a humorous twist. But in terms of changing the dynamics of her political year signing this legislation -- MONTINI: Yes, that's why this was -- that's why it's so important for this bill in particular, she took a really long time to sign this piece of legislation. And what she was doing in the interim was testing the wind.
You know, is this going to work, is this not going to work for me, or what? When she found out it really did, she went for it.
YELLIN: It's worked for her politically, too.
YELLIN: She had challengers in the primary for re-election and her two main challengers have backed out. Her numbers are up. This is a political winner for Jan Brewer.
KING: And it made her not only a leading figure in the immigration debate in this state but now nationally.
LOPEZ: She has a national name. People know who she is. She probably won't get the Hispanic vote. But she has been doing better in Arizona than I think she thought she would when she took over as governor.
KING: Explain, Ed --
MONTINI: She's also a forced candidates like Terry Goddard. Terry Goddard --
MONTINI: I mean, essentially, Terry Goddard has to run as Jan Brewer Light. And you're not going to win that way. You just can't. Right now every single politician that I can think of, particularly a Republican politician in Arizona, is running under the notion that I can be tougher on illegal immigrants than the other guy can.
And that's their entire campaign. They're -- everything is hitched on to this particular wagon. Everything.
YELLIN: There are -- you know, the critics would say that there are unintended political consequences here. That there are massive drives to get Latinos who are citizens registered to vote. There's an argument that when a similar law, similarly controversial law passed in California, the state turned even more blue. It got more Democrats registered.
So the GOP does risk losing Latinos for a very, very long time because of this. Certainly that's not a concern with Jan Brewer so.
MONTINI: Not at all.
KING: But -- in a year in which the headwind is in the face of the Democrats and the Republicans have it at the back, though, do you see the mobilization? We've certainly seen some protests, we've seen anger over the law.
Do we see the next step, people mobilizing to actually get out in November?
LOPEZ: Well, November midterm elections aren't an event where Hispanics take a lot of -- where Hispanic go and vote, but this time they're mobilized because it seems as a national attack on Hispanics.
This doesn't seem as something specific to Arizona. And a lot of people are interpreting this as a signal that states are considering similar measures to this that maybe this will make them reconsider. It's not only Arizona.
KING: All right. Our great panel is going to stay with us. When we come back, a special Arizona edition of the "Play-by-Play." And the leading element, the "Star Wars" version of John McCain.
ANNOUNCER: Here comes the "Play-by-Play."
KING: "Play-by-Play" tonight from the Arizona state capitol in Phoenix. We'll continue our immigration theme.
Still with us, national political correspondent Jessica Yellin, Ed Montini of the "Arizona Republic," Juan Carlos Lopez of our network CNN Espanol
Governor Jan Brewer has made a huge name for herself. Signing this law, it has helped her in her reelection campaign so far. She was on the program last night and I asked her, if the president would give you some more help with border security, would you give him help on comprehensive immigration reform?
Meaning, allowing those here illegally to somehow stay and get status. Governor Brewer says no.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JAN BREWER (R), ARIZONA: You know, everything's off the table, I believe, in Arizona until we get our border secure. That's our number one priority. It's unfortunate it has to be that way but the people of Arizona, the people of America, have been promised that our border will be secured for years and years and years. With it not happening.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
KING: I was reading some of your columns before the trip. And you make an interesting point about how she's mad at the president and yet he gave her more than she asked for.
MONTINI: Before she signed 1070 and -- although after the rancher in the Cochise County, Mr. Krentz, was killed, she wrote a letter to President Obama asking for 250 troops. He sent her 524. And that's not enough because the polls have changed. I mean the way that Governor Brewer and Senator McCain to that extent are running their campaigns. The only tourists we're getting in Arizona are other media. That's it. That's what we get right now.
MONTINI: Yes, thank god. Yes, we need it.
MONTINI: Bring them all in.
KING: And yet it's helped her?
YELLIN: It has helped her enormously politically. It doesn't seem that the law even needs to go into effect for it to have a political effect, and as we've seen even an effect on getting some people to leave state, certainly sending chills through the community.
KING: From the right of John McCain -- we just had him on the program -- J.D. Hayworth is trying to say John McCain is -- the old John McCain was for what he calls amnesty, J.D. Hayworth.
The new John McCain, Hayworth would say, is just reacting to this conservative (INAUDIBLE) in the primary challenge. Here's J.D. Hayworth on TV.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I stood with Ted Kennedy and John McCain, and took on this tough issue.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: McCain's amnesty bill will cost $2.6 trillion. Rewarding illegal aliens with Social Security and Medicare benefits. Had enough?
J.D. Hayworth led the fight against McCain's amnesty bill, wrote the book on securing our border, and is endorsed by Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
KING: So far, Juan Carlos, J.D. Hayworth, despite that very, very, very tough message, is trailing in the polls.
LOPEZ: Well, remember, John McCain was for immigration reform and he became the Republican nominee to the presidency. So there's a link between immigration and politics but it doesn't seem to be a deal breaker when it comes to -- advancing in the party.
KING: And has he sold the idea that he's not being a hypocrite? That the times have changed? And that the people have changed?
MONTINI: Well, J.D. Hayworth is -- our biggest nightmare is that John McCain has helped J.D. Hayworth. And he can't get over that. And because John McCain has way too much money -- I mean he shifted a lot of money from his former presidential campaign. He's killing Hayworth with ads. And he's literally running as J.D. Hayworth under a different name.
KING: And Jess, I know you're a big "Star Wars" fan. A week or so ago on the program --
YELLIN: So is --
KING: It was a little more than a week or so ago, we played the John McCain ad about build the dang fence. Well, someone decided to have a little bit of fun with that. Consider this build-the-dang- fence "Star Wars" version.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Plan's perfect. You bring troops, state county and local law enforcement together. And complete the dang fence. It will work this time.
Senator, you're one of us.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
YELLIN: You know who got the biggest hoot out of that is John McCain. He's got a pretty good sense of humor.
KING: (INAUDIBLE) the primary he'll get the biggest hoot out of that.
YELLIN: Right. That's right, that's right.
KING: To the more serious point, though, I mean 10 percent unemployment in the country. It's high out here. You've got the real estate issue out here, foreclosures, crime -- and yet, and yet the number one issue most of the candidates and a lot of people seem to be talking about is immigration.
MONTINI: Right. Well, but isn't that tied to economics, though? I mean essentially every time the economy goes south, you go looking for a scapegoat and the scapegoat is obviously the people at the lowest end of the totem pole.
That's what we're talking about here. It's easier to blame them for your economic problems if you're a politician than to say, you know what, we kind of messed up with that whole banking thing and other stuff.
KING: Ed Montini, Jessica Yellin, Juan Carlos Lopez, thank you.
Immigration communities across the country are keeping a close eye on the happenings here in Arizona. Our "Pete on the Street" gets one group's reaction. That's coming up after the break.
But first, a little musical interlude. An odd couple. The first lady of soul accompanied on the piano by the former secretary of state. See you in a minute.
KING: A couple of minutes away from the top of the hour. Let's check in with Rick Sanchez to see what's coming up on "RICK'S LIST" primetime.
RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to be -- listen. We're going to be talking about what's really going on with this immigration thing. This is a report from Texas, from Carole Strayhorn, on whether the illegal immigrants there contribute or take.
This is her study in "The New York Times" which describes just how much illegal immigrants may or may not pay in Social Security. Did you know that?
This is a Princeton study that details exactly how much illegal immigrants assimilate or how many -- how often they are able to speak English after they arrive in the United States.
All of this as Obama and the Republicans are being forced by Arizona to come up with some kind of legislation on immigration. Can they do it?
Expect news to be made on "RICK'S LIST." Back to you, John.
KING: Most of you know New York City is made up of many small immigrant communities. Even though it's far away from here in Arizona, they're all watching this situation and this debate very closely.
Our offbeat reporter Pete Dominick tonight is with one of New York's largest immigrant groups. Those from the Caribbean nation of the Dominican Republic.
PETE DOMINICK, JOHN KING, USA'S OFFBEAT REPORTER: Hey, John King, that's right. I have the best assignment you've ever given me. I'm up here in Washington heights at a Dominican seafood restaurant. I mean look at this food. The quintessential (speak foreign language)? Of course.
And I'm talking to these folks who are all Dominican Republic immigrants and they're all also professionals. Journalists, Jorge is a doctor, Maria is an assistant principal, and we're watching the show -- correct me if I'm wrong, guys, I don't want to speak for you. There's outrage, there's a little fear, because you hear the things that some of these people are saying in Arizona and your relatives back home and the people here are concerned that the Arizona laws could come here to a place like New York, right? I mean --
DOMINICK: This is something that you watch and you say I hope that we don't have to deal with that because --
Yes. Well, first of all, we need to be happy. And secure. Because part of the -- the main key parts of the law has been blocked.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we need --
DOMINICK: So that's a good thing --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're celebrating today.
DOMINICK: You're celebrating. They're celebrating they say because the key parts of this law -- which ones, the profiling situations --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Profiling situations. Stopping people, asking for documents. I came to -- I came to Phoenix this weekend --
DOMINICK: You were in Arizona?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was there --
DOMINICK: Really? How many of you would go to Arizona right now? You would not go? You would go. And you, you went -- you went to protest?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I went to protest.
DOMINICK: Yes. Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And to meet with wonderful artist who I really oppose of this --
DOMINICK: What is the most popular misconception? We've only got a second here. But what's the most popular misconception you think people have about immigrants?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are criminals?
DOMINICK: Criminals. Jorge, you're not a criminal, you're a doctor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know. I'm a doctor.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm an artist. Yes, I'm an artist.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm also an artist.
DOMINICK: You're an artist. And an educator. But what are the things that people have so wrong about?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're profiling. You know, they think everybody come hears here to steal and do the wrong --
DOMINICK: Come here and steal. No, you came here actually to educate. And listen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's right.
DOMINICK: John, I came here to eat tonight. And eating is what I'm doing. This is a great meal and a great assignment, John King. And I'm learning a lot about Dominican Republic culture.
And I think that's one of great things about New York and hopefully something that we can all celebrate, John King.
KING: Hey, Pete, if I can get in one quick question. Do any of them resent the fact that those who come illegally -- many around you, I assume they and their families came in legally, waited in line. Do any of them resent the fact that those that come illegally take American jobs? That's what the argument is by the politicians pushing the law here.
DOMINICK: John King is asking, do any of you ever resent those who come here illegally and make it more difficult?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course not.
DOMINICK: No? No?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If they change the law, then they wouldn't (INAUDIBLE) people coming here illegal. I mean like I mentioned before in our conversation when we started to have dinner, if you deport really today, (INAUDIBLE) is going to come to New York.
DOMINICK: Right. All right. Yes, so no, they're not concerned with that, John. No.
KING: All right, Pete, interesting conversation, thank all your guests for us. That's all the time we have tonight. We'll be back here in Arizona tomorrow as parts of the law do take effect.
"RICK'S LIST" starts right now.