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.
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  1. Mike

    Luckily carrying a gun in public in Arizona is also legal. If one of these ignorant racists comes up to me, I'll make sure I exercise my legal rights in this matter.

    April 29, 2010 at 1:55 am | Report abuse |

    Earth to Dumazz Sez,
    Yes... It IS his fault he was born in a third world country ! If you cannot provide for a family; you have no business having a family ! America CANNOT support the entire world. Come down from your dreamland.

    April 29, 2010 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
  3. Patricia

    Des, a little slow on the sarcasm are we?

    April 29, 2010 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
  4. JRigg

    The sooner we, AS A COUNTRY, realize that we created this mess by turning our heads regarding undocumented workers, the sooner we'll fix it,

    I don't think the attitude of "send 'em back where they belong" is especially helpful and assumes that you have some sort of birthright to live and occupy this land that was taken from others in the first place.

    Do something productive. Kicking out millions of consumers and workers, even if they ARE illegal, will upset the extremely delicate balance of our economy. Granted, the AZ law does not kick out all the undocumented workers in the country, but it begins the slippery slope, which is why the debate is getting so heated.

    Why don't we start with re-vamping our current immigration process? People who are "in line" as of now deserve first-in-line status and full citizenship within the next 12 months. This will require us to move funds from the current broken system and apply it to a workforce that can process the current application queue.

    Next, people who are not applying for citizenship but want to work here temporarily and have current visas. They can have an immediate extension of their visa for the next 5 years. We need their labor, consumer and tax dollars, and their contributions to our society.

    After that are people with expired visas or people who have initially gone through the old legal system but have chosen to stay anyway. Your path to citizenship will be longer and more expensive, but you are allowed to work it off. You will have an extra tax on your paycheck, call it the PTC tax (path to citizenship) and when you have paid $X into that, you can become a citizen too.

    Lastly are the people who have just simply crossed the border and found jobs through either working for unscrupulous employers, or who have forged documents. We need you too, but you'll have to work a little longer to get citizenship. You'll immediately get a temporary work permit and you"' also be required to perform community service. Perhaps as an interpreter if you are bilingual, perhaps working on Federal property in whatever skill or experience you have. You will be paid a living wage but you will pay a higher PTC tax.

    These are just ideas off the top of my head and would require more thought, but the point is that everyone would have a path to citizenship. They're here now anyway, let's find a way to make them citizens.

    For all the NEW applications, you'll be applying through a brand new process. One that respects your dignity and isn't beyond the average working person's means.

    I don't have all the answers here, but I think we should brainstorm productively rather than name-call, and hurt each other. We need everyone who wants to work here to work, and everyone who works deserves a living wage.

    April 29, 2010 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
  5. Spanish American

    SPANISH AMERICAN..You should also leave. what's with the "Spanish" aren't you simply 'American" Don't let Moose hit you with the door on your way out

    Posted by: beerbellian

    I'm Spanish AMERICAN, isn't that the correct term that wasn't born here but is naturalized. Fail, try again and maybe you should leave. As you said, don't let the door hit you on your way out.

    April 29, 2010 at 1:58 am | Report abuse |
  6. sickandtired

    One more for Dumazz Sez – your racist remarks about whites are quite rude. You imply that Americans are all white – that's completely unfounded. Unfortunately, it's not the first time I've read that from illegal sympathizers. Sure is an awful lot of hate directed towards white people. Did it ever occur to you that many of the folks wanting our immigration laws to be enforced are NOT all white?! US citizens come in all colors from all countries around the world.

    April 29, 2010 at 2:00 am | Report abuse |
  7. Tempe

    @ Des de Texas

    I do live 40K North of the boarder in AZ. I will admit there is issues with Mexican activity in the areas of Texas you mention. But that is not the case in many rural communities in the same local to the boarder. However that is not my point. My point is other local governments across the globe will sooner or later take ownership of non citizen laws in their community if the US government fails to stop the passage of this law. We in AZ are setting a precedence that local law can remove the burden of law from the national government. Sooner or later any American that travels outside of the US, will suffer because of the passage of this law. As I wrote before, we all know this is not the intent of this law, but it will be abused. If we don't want Mexican's citizens here, then write the law so. Leaving it open to all as it is now will blind side us. If the intent is to solve the issues you write of in these areas close the to boarder, then write the law to do so. It is too open as written. We are too scared to write the law as we really mean it. Leaving it open to interpretation will cause a reaction from any other governments. It will be abused. So we should have the guts to put in law what we really mean, or not do it at all.

    April 29, 2010 at 2:00 am | Report abuse |
  8. Tall, BROWN and handsome!

    Let he who has no sin cast the first stone. You bunch of hypocrites. You all point fingers in all directions except yourselves. You can't sit there and tell me that not one "legally white" person in America cheats the welfare system. You all are no better than the illegal mexicans crossing the Arizona desert.

    April 29, 2010 at 2:02 am | Report abuse |
  9. Spanish American

    Tall, Brown and whatever...I've never broken the law in my life. I've never been on welfare. I've always paid my taxes on time, every year since I started working hard for my money at 12 years old. I'm a law abiding citizen who will throw that stone, as I refuse to pay taxes for non law abiding non citizens...

    April 29, 2010 at 2:04 am | Report abuse |
  10. Nelda

    Hooray for Arizona. Wish I lived there. Have been there but I hate the desert. I am hoping all the other U.S. states follow Arizonas lead. What is it about ILLEGAL that our government doesn't understand? This is ALL ABOUT ILLEGAL, nothing else. They are bleeding our system dry, leaving nothing for our own residents. If you're here legally then you have nothing to fear. Come thru the gates like all other immigrants came.

    April 29, 2010 at 2:04 am | Report abuse |
  11. Casey

    They all get on here and comment because they are scared the boarders will close, hey don't worry our politicians are so corrupt and are making too much money to use reason. Thats why nothing that makes sense happens like "who cares what or who comes across the boarder!" its racism right good Christians don't care right?

    April 29, 2010 at 2:05 am | Report abuse |
  12. Bobbert

    Adios wetbacks!

    April 29, 2010 at 2:06 am | Report abuse |
  13. Greg

    The one thing no one except Arizonans really understands is our long lasting friendship with the Mexican people. Mexican culture is so intertwined with Southern Arizonan culture and there is a mutual respect.

    As it stands right now the Border Patrol is a joke in terms of slowing down the influx of illegal entrants into the United States Of America. They do the best they can, but most Illegals don't drive in in a car through the major thoroughfare. it is also well known the Police can't do anything. This is a much needed law!

    My wife is of Mexican decent. I am not a racist. My family and friends are mostly doctors in southern Arizonan towns. I see first hand the cost of this illegal immigration. It is a major problem the younger generations of Americans just dont understand.

    I've said it before and i'll say it again. We are and UNDERDOG society. We are compasionate by nature and that is beautiful but:


    April 29, 2010 at 2:08 am | Report abuse |
  14. Spanish American

    Time for bed. Adios todos y bravo Arizona!! Keep up the good work!

    Que Viva Los Estados Unidos para siempre!! The best country in the world! Lets clean up this country people. Buenas noches....Good night.

    April 29, 2010 at 2:12 am | Report abuse |
  15. Justin H

    I still have not heard any detailed explanation of how the police are to develop a "reasonable suspicion" a person is in the US illegally. What basis do they use to determine a person is not a citizen or legal resident and therefore "reasonable suspicious? Unless they have some iron clad method for making this determination, then they are in danger of violating the rights of citizens.

    April 29, 2010 at 2:13 am | Report abuse |
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