April 28th, 2010
02:47 PM ET

Tea Partiers to illegal immigrants: 'Sign guestbook'

Lee Earle, left, and Ronald Ludders of Phoenix support Arizona's new immigration law.

Lee Earle, a self-identified “Tea Party facilitator” in Arizona, ground zero of the immigration debate, wants you to know that he supports immigration. He considers it the lifeblood of American society and the backbone of our economy – if it’s done legally.

“We want immigration. We need immigration! All we want is for people to sign the guestbook at the door,” said Earle, a Phoenix resident. “Being an illegal immigrant in Arizona is like trespassing. If you’re in my house and you’re not invited, then I have every right to send you out.”

Earle says he supports Arizona’s controversial new law targeting illegal immigration because it lets local law enforcement do what the federal government should be doing to stop people from entering the country unlawfully.

“When people come here without permission, when they come here illegally, they automatically become victims of the coyotes who bring them over and the employers who take advantage of their cheap labor,” Earle said. “Let them come legally so they can take advantage of all the wonderful services and opportunities this great nation has to offer and they can contribute in a meaningful way.”

Earle, a loquacious retiree who gesticulates frequently as he fires off in a stream-of-consciousness manner, shared his thoughts Tuesday night before a legislative district meeting at the Jumbo Buffet in a strip mall in southwest Phoenix.

Dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and jeans, his long gray hair pulled back, Earle said he blames health care, education and incarceration for illegal immigrants for contributing to the state’s $2 billion budget deficit.

“It’s a monetary thing for the state, because I’m a taxpayer but also a human concerned because they can’t take advantage of our legal system because they’re afraid of being deported,” he said.

Earle’s friend and fellow Tea Partier Ronald Ludders dismissed with a wave of the hand the suggestion that the bill encourages racial profiling.

“Illegal is not a race," said Ludders, who, like Earle, is a Republican precinct committeeman for his legislative district. “Law enforcement will be looking for people who they have reasonable suspicion to believe are breaking the law. They cannot stop them based on the color of their skin.”

Both men say this is not about hating Hispanics: Ludders has a home in Mexico, and Earle lives in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood.

“This is about fixing a problem that has been plaguing our communities for a long time. If the federal government isn’t going to do anything, I’m proud of Arizona for stepping up to the plate,” Earle said.

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Filed under: Arizona • Immigration • U.S.
soundoff (1,254 Responses)
  1. Jhon

    How many times do you need to be prodded for your proof of citizenship before you get fed up? What about the day you don't have it and get thrown in jail? And the conservatives think Obama is the one trouncing the Constitution? What hypocrites. The Arizona police might as well wear red shirts and call themselves fascist Mussolinites. "Where are your papers?"

    April 28, 2010 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Thomas Spaniolo

    Look at these comments. So much racism. So much hatred. Mexican workers both legal and undocumented built the homes and businesses, picked the crops and did the work that White people in Arizona would not do. The White majoity seeks to demonize the people it exploits and oppresses. We have seen this before in Germany, South Africa, Mississippi etc. Perhaps the Arizona legislature can pass a law requiring that all undocumented aliens should wear a yellow star on their outer clothing.

    April 28, 2010 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Damian Latino

    Many latin countries have black descendants. Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico....the list never ends including Mexico from the east side.

    So, the black community is in the same boat.

    100% this new law was built based on of anger, revenge, lack of tolerance. Just because one or two US citizen were killed by drug dealers at border, then EVERY ONE has to be pay the price to be requested by police.

    I don't think this law is well fundamentally built. Eager and tiredness of criminals, it's not the key to build this law.

    COME ON NOW: Let's build a better system to stop criminals and illegals flowing the boarders.
    Hard to belleive big corporation like Raytheon, lockheed martin develop multi billion defend projects, and the US CAN NOT create an effective system to stop illegal immigration????


    April 28, 2010 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. GB

    I'm not a tea partier BUT I certainly don't see how illegal immigrants (and their constituents) feel that being illegal grants them the same rights as citizens. I just don't get it! Human rights, yes. Citizenship rights, a great big, flat out NO! The term illegal alone should tell them something. If we hadn't been overly sympathetic and empathetic to their cause in the first place, they would have been gone long ago and many would not have made it past the eastern/western/northern/southern boarders. We wouldn't have illegal immigrants from any country here – well at least not in the droves we have them now. We're just tired of footing the bill, baby.

    April 28, 2010 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Diego

    Hey Marc,
    I think you are missing the point. In my mind, the point is not whether the folks who are here illegally should be deported – they should. And most Americans, conservative, liberal, or otherwise feel the same way. The opposition to this bill stems from the fact that, due to the language in it, a police officer may detain, question, and even arrest a citizen of this country merely for not having proof of citizenship in their possession. You claim to be a Progressive, so I don't know how you could condone this. Would you like to live in a country where you can be stopped and harrassed at any time for no reason at all other than you "look" like you might not be from around here?

    So it's not a matter of pretending there are no illegals. It's a matter of treating everyone with dignity and coming up with a better way of fixing the illegal immigration problem. How about enforcing the laws we already have? How about levying heavy fines on employers who can't prove that their workers are in this country legally? We don't have to harrass our own citizens to solve this issue.

    April 28, 2010 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dan

    "Holy God is watching"

    And as usual doing absolutely nothing...just like our government.

    April 28, 2010 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. RobertShaw

    My name is Robert Shaw and I:

    1) Don't know what i'm talking about

    2) Have no real solution to illegal immigration

    3) Should really consider moving over to the Republican side

    4) Think about issues before I post rambling nonsense

    April 28, 2010 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jujumax

    What Does Jesus Christ think Arizona?

    April 28, 2010 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Terry Neal

    You people are really scary.

    April 28, 2010 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dave

    Illegal is illegal, period. If you break the law you should be held accountable. I am really disturbed by all of the people that say that they have a "right" to illegally enter this country. No you don't. I support legal immigration, not illegal immigration. If you are here illegally you are probably a criminal or an idiot anyway and we don't want either, we have enough. As for the people that says the new immigration law will endanger children and the elderly. That is ignorant and irresponsible. We have to let our police do their job, trust them, and trust that they will be responsible in enforcing the letter of the law. It's the law people, the law. Not negotiable.

    April 28, 2010 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Pat

    Sure rational thought – blame it on Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. You need a scapegoat for everything, don't you? Racism is alive and well in America and I don't need Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton to remind me of that--just my granddaughter.

    April 28, 2010 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Diego

    Joe Bob,

    We don't have to worry about police officers picking us out of a crowd and asking to see proof of citizenship. You are only unconcerned because you will not be one of the ones singled out. I don't know what prompted the "grow up" comment from you, but I am a man in my 50's and have accumulated plenty of wisdom over the years. I hope you will educate yourself as well.

    April 28, 2010 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Chris

    "Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

    Arizona's new law goes against the very core of the United States. If this is they way it should be the Native American's should kick everyone else out!

    April 28, 2010 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dan

    "What Does Jesus Christ think Arizona?"

    Nothing. He's dead.

    April 28, 2010 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jason

    People who say immigrants have no rights granted by the constitution are missing a very important point...the Constitution is not written for you. It only defines the limited powers of our government...althought I would agree the Fed has been neglagent in dealing with this problem for many may years...So..If you neglect fixing your teeth for decades..expect one heck of a nasty dentist bill..and alot of pain.

    April 28, 2010 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
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