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. TammyB

    No one has been able to explain to me that since this law mirrors the EXACT same Federal law, why it is so bad? All we are doing is giving a little more help to the Federal government, who continues to ignore their duties in all border states. I agree that border security must be improved, and I agree that the USA is a country built on immigrants. This issue is complex for sure. However, in the State of Arizona (and I want all the anti-immigration people to actually read this statement) it is MANDATORY THAT ALL PEOPLE carry identification. I have been asked for my ID (state driver's license). And yes, in the law it states that State ID and Driver's License, or voter registration card (which you have to have an ID to get), work permit, green card is permittable and legal under this law. What is the stinking deal? My WHITE son in law was stopped late at night riding his bicycle and when he could not provide his ID he was taken by the police to his home to get his ID. If he could not have produced it, what would have happened? Fines. Same as with this law. Again, I ask, who is being discriminated against? Legal citizens? Yes. All illegals who don't want to carry Federally mandated ID. No. Per the protestors they should be excluded from following the law. Someone explain to me how that is fair.

    May 6, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Arthur

    what part of YOUR NOT LEGAL to be here you don't understand ?????

    May 8, 2010 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  3. Alice

    What part of BE FAIR TO -ALL-, do -you- not understand?!!!!

    May 8, 2010 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  4. Linda

    Well said Mr. Earle. The USA is an immigrant country and can continue to be so by encouraging immigration through legal means. Immigrants who are here illegally by definition have already broken the law. This is not the type of immigration we should be supporting, if for no other reason than the cost, which is already prohibitive to the legal tax payers of the USA.

    May 10, 2010 at 2:51 am | Report abuse |
  5. larry

    I totaly agree with signing the book. I believe that all people must be free but just like our fathers do it the right way. sign the book and make steps to become an american. I am a vietnam vet and have tried many times to get a job in resturants and janitorial and becuse of employers using immigrants find it impossible. You talk to employeers and they say everyone does it, We do not have to pay unemployment and there always here. Ask do they not know that they have alot of illigals working they say the goverment does not do anything about it so why should I.

    Most illigals buy social security numbers and sometimes when they can afford it they buy the name and the number and they never get caught. Ask one of the illigals if they would fight and die for america 90% would say no but they would for mexico. They believe that with out them america economy would fall. I disagree. Either do it the right way or stay where your at.

    Why does the goverment let this happen they know who is illigal and where they work by payroll records why not visit these companies and make the employeers think twice before hiring. There all ignoring the problem because of the vote when is america that my father, my grandftather, my brother and I fought for going to stand up for what is right stop worrying about the vote and do something right.

    May 10, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
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    The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is a division within the Department of Homeland Security. Formerly known as the INS, the USCIS is responsible for managing immigration and naturalization issues, as well as directing services that are in charge of promoting national security.

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