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. Diego

    Hey Maria –
    We're not talking about Costa Rica. Do you want this country to be like Costa Rica? If you're in a 3rd world country that doesn't give a damn about freedom or human rights then you dang well better have the "papers." But in this country, we don't do that. Except in Arizona.

    April 28, 2010 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Patricia

    Moose, I just want you to know that "complicate" means to make more difficult. I think you may need to review your use of the word in the majority of your posts...just a heads up!

    April 28, 2010 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jay

    As a non-white, legal immigrant to this country working legally for past 6 years and hoping to be a permanent resident some day, i am heartened to read Mr. Earle's comment about legal immigrants. However, i do fear that any immigration enforcement by the police is going to focus more on the non-whites, specifically people with brown skin. The reason is simple – there are more of brown people here that are illegals. Its the same stereotype that black people have protested about re: police behavior towards someone who is black. I would be surprised to see Police asking a white blond person his/her proof of citizenship/ immigration status.
    Unfortunately, these laws do impact people who are here legally US immigration is long, costly and complicated – what papers are considered necessary to prove legality is not easy – plus to carry on one's person at all the time is onerous (its not a simple birth certificate that most citizens will probably carry).
    The better way to do this is to stop the welfare state – no free hospital care, no welfare or any benefits without being able to show legal immigration status. US attracts a lot of smart hard working people who believe in the American Dream and its still the #1 choice for most smart capable people looking for a better life. Lets create laws that keeps America in that position and not scare away people who can help the US become leaders in the next technology revolution.

    April 28, 2010 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mark D

    Brian and what is your line of work? Begging the government for more freebies. You look at the vast majority of the so called "tea baggers" and intellectually and financially we will bury your entitlement driven Azzes

    April 28, 2010 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Diego

    Hey Mike :

    You pasted: "nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

    Note that it says ANY PERSON. Not just American citizens.

    So, who is the "ignorant person" now?

    April 28, 2010 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ruth Perez

    I am a U.S. Citizen and I was born in the United States, I am also Hispanic, I understand that Illegals should not be in this country, but what I don't like is that I can be stopped and questioned, we are going to be treated like second hand citizens because our skin is brown. I do not like this law. Illegal immigrants should be stopped before they come into the U.S.that is why it is called the border.

    April 28, 2010 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kelvin D. Meeks

    This issue is the most divisive one that has arisen during my lifetime.

    I found Earle's comment in the article to be filled with unintended irony:
    “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.”. What is the difference between that position and the plight of the Native American Indian – whose rights were trampled by illegal immigrants?

    Does the Tea Party have some yardstick of time to determine when it is acceptable to remain as an illegal alien? Or would Earle support the seemingly logical extension of his argument – that the Native American Indian could demand that he vacate Arizona also?

    The amount of hidden racial hatred and bigotry that is implicit in the shrill voice of the Tea Party is blemish on the reputation and history of our great country.

    April 28, 2010 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. John grambie

    I'm done attempting to teachConstitutional law to folks who have the background of an 8th grade social studies class. I guess folks can ignorantly complain about this law and use "racial profiling" as an excuse that it should be overturned rather than actually dealing with the problem that the folks in Arizona are actively addressing. Inasmuch, the latino community has not been very good at pressuring illegal persons from leaving as well.

    April 28, 2010 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. TexasVoice

    People in the United States should be sent back to their country of origin. People who hire illegals should be fined or imprisoned. But that is not the point!

    The people of Arizona have just handed the state the right to stop anyone, anywhere, anytime and ask them to prove they are here legally. Why not also listen to all the phone conversations in Arizona and use wiretaps to catch illegals. Why not intercept mail and question people who are sending money back to Mexico. These would seem to be at least as effective and at least as against the American standard.

    April 28, 2010 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dave

    Not allowed in this Bill Ruth. Not allowed.

    April 28, 2010 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mark D

    Are you liberal lunatics conceding now that you are the party of no since you wanted to vote no on this bill? Interesting when you vote no it is ok. You liberals really sicken me.

    April 28, 2010 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. David

    "Illegal is not a race"

    lol, hear hear Earle and Ludders! Great stuff from you both.

    April 28, 2010 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Eric

    "ME" @ 10:40 – Please go to Japan and see if you are a citizen...you know, just in case...

    April 28, 2010 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ronald Racist

    Keith, Dallas, TX: I love to meet you on the street one day. You would make my day moronic twat.

    April 28, 2010 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mike

    Diego the any person part is just equal protection of the law. They violated the law by being here illegally. The due process in this case is to submit verification of legal status, if you can submit that paper work, ID card, or SS number then you will have more then the due process afforded to you. And you also failed to read the first sentence. So once again you are ignorant. I am a third generation American who can still apply for dual citizenship from my grand father's home country. Immigrants built this country and continue to do so, but they need to do it legally and within the means of sustainability. We are a country with a declining birth rate and yet a rapidly increasing population.

    Once again read the bill people

    April 28, 2010 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
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