Lack of clarity in immigration policy is destabilizing
I love the old west in the USA and Tucson and driving through the US-Mexico border towns along Interstate 10 provide a glimpse into the Wild West. At night, there are spots where one can look in the southern direction to see hundreds if not thousands of campfires from people waiting for a chance to bolt across the border. On one hand, you think “illegals,” and on the other hand, you think, freedom-seeking souls,” just like us.
“Giffords's border district symbolizes the heat of Arizona politics
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, January 17, 2011; 12:54 AM
DOUGLAS, ARIZ. - The congresswoman's grueling path to reelection took her from her Tucson base across the barren high desert, through an empty expanse of tumbleweed and mesquite trees, to this dusty town at the Mexican border that has come to symbolize the tinderbox of Arizona politics.
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords returned here on a sweltering day last June to gather footage for her campaign advertisements. A moderate Democrat in a classic swing district, she walked a main street where American flags hang outside shoe stores and barber shops. A voice-over emphasized her strengths: independence . . . courage. . . integrity.
The camera rolling, a man stormed out of the Gadsden Hotel, a historic landmark. He screamed that Giffords was about to get "thrown out" of office, creating such a scene that police intervened.
"He began viciously, verbally attacking Gabby," said Jason Ralston, Giffords's Washington-based consultant directing the action. "I've never seen anything like it."
The man channeled his anger toward Giffords, but this was about much more than a lone congresswoman. He seemed to give voice to the long-simmering frustrations and passions in southern Arizona that boiled over during Giffords's hard-fought 2010 campaign.
Pitched emotions - centered on the issues of immigration, health care and the economy - have fueled an atmosphere here that encourages vitriol, according to interviews with more than two dozen state political leaders and residents. An anti-Washington sentiment has flourished as people blame their elected leaders, not just for failing to fix problems but for passing laws that only add to the mess.
The atmosphere created a sense of foreboding long before the Jan. 8 massacre at a Tucson strip mall where Giffords was meeting with constituents. Since the shootings, the co-founder of the Tucson Tea Party has endured death threats and hate mail that required law enforcement assistance, including a verbal threat made Saturday at a community gathering that included one of the shooting survivors.”