The following guest post comes from Brent Ellsworth, an Arizona attorney, and author of “The Case Against Russell Pearce.”
Mitt Romney is not the only LDS candidate receiving national media attention this election cycle.
Russell Pearce is also on the media “watch” list. Pearce is one of two LDS candidates for an open state senate seat in the Arizona primary on August 28. His opponent is Bob Worsley, founder of SkyMall, who is seeking his first elected office.
Pearce was the moving force behind the passage in 2010 of Arizona Senate Bill 1070, the first state law to enact “enforcement only” provisions to address the problem of undocumented immigrants at the state level. The stated objective of such legislation is to make life so unbearable for undocumented immigrants that they will voluntarily leave and return to their countries of origin. “Attrition through enforcement.” Pearce also attracted national attention when in November 2011, while President of the Arizona State Senate, he was removed from office in a humiliating and controversial recall election.
Pearce and Worsley are locked in a tight race, and the tension is palpable among neighbors, friends, and even family members, who have split political loyalties.
Pearce claims LDS officials have endorsed his “enforcement only” immigration efforts, a claim the church has refuted.
Pearce also professes full support and agreement with the policy statement of the LDS Church on immigration issued in June 2011, though he adamantly opposes any efforts to enact laws that would permit undocumented immigrants to remain in this country under any circumstance. The church statement includes, among other things, an admonition to lawmakers to seek “an approach where undocumented immigrants are allowed to square themselves with the law and continue to work . . . without this necessarily leading to
Pearce sees no conflict in his bipolar contention that he fully supports the LDS policy on immigration, while at the same time he denounces as “amnesty” any attempt to permit undocumented immigrants to remain in this country and “square themselves with the law.”
I find those two positions to be antithetical.
In my opinion, LDS politicians and church members who claim these two positions are compatible are either disingenuous or delusional.
The current Pearce race is certainly colorful, with the recent release of old Pearce e-mails which compare Hispanic immigrants to “lepers fleeing a leper colony,” and the Pearce statement following the Aurora, Colorado, shootings that the victims could have done more to minimize the damage caused by the shooter – “[H]ad someone been prepared and armed they could have stopped this ‘bad man’ from most of this tragedy . . . All that was needed is one Courages/Brave (sic) man prepared mentally or otherwise to stop this.”
For my detailed argument against the reelection of Russell Pearce, see “The Case Against Russell Pearce” at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/