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Between the economy and boycotts related to Arizona’s tough new immigration law, SB 1070, tourism in the state is down 10 percent.
Every day on cable news, anchors and reporters are discussing an invasion at the border, headless bodies in the desert or a rash of kidnappings.
During this election cycle, Arizona politicians are touting the potential dangers of illegal immigration. Gov. Jan Brewer is one of the loudest voices.
She has made several statements to the national media, the validity of which CBS 5 Investigates could not confirm. The governor told one media outlet that almost all illegal immigrants are bringing drugs across the border. U.S. Border Patrol officials said that statement is false.
Brewer also said law enforcement officials have found decapitated bodies in the desert. Calls to all of Arizona’s border county medical examiners revealed no decapitated bodies have been reported to them.
A look at data from the FBI shows crime in Arizona is actually down. Murders in Phoenix have dropped by 50 percent since 2003. The violent crime rate across the state has dropped 15% between 2004 through 2008. Even the number of illegal border crossers is down 49% since 2004. Border Patrol numbers show they are arresting half as many illegal immigrants as they did in 2004.
U.S. Attorney for Arizona, Dennis Burke, told CBS 5 Investigates, “If you’re not into drug trafficking and you’re not into human smuggling, you’re going to be safe. This is a safe place to live.”
But that message is not getting out, and at the state capitol, there is a real concern that Arizona’s new reputation might be hard to shake.
State Sen. Leah Landrum Taylor, D-Phoenix, told CBS 5 Investigates, “If you’re hearing about beheadings and you’re hearing about things that drastic, would you want to bring your friends and family to Arizona?”
Taylor said a drop in tourism dollars from all of the bad publicity could drastically impact the state’s already ailing budget.
In the meantime, a CBS 5 News investigation revealed that there is one business that could profit from the implementation of SB 1070 and similar immigration measures. The private prison industry houses illegal immigrant detainees for the federal government. Those companies could gain contracts with state and local agencies to house illegal immigrants arrested for state violations.
Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA, holds the federal contract to house detainees in Arizona. The company bills $11 million per month. CBS 5 Investigates learned that two of Brewer’s top advisers have connections to CCA.
Paul Senseman is the governor’s deputy chief of staff. He is also a former lobbyist for CCA. His wife is listed as a current lobbyist for the company.
Chuck Coughlin is one of the governor’s policy advisers and her campaign chairman. Coughlin’s company, HighGround Public Affairs Consultants, currently lobbies for CCA.
CCA issued the following statement to CBS 5 Investigates:
“CCA, unequivocally, did not at any time lobby -- nor did we have any outside consultants lobby -- anyone in Arizona on the immigration law. Nor are we proposing to house detainee immigrants as a result of SB 1070. We currently have no contracts with the State or any counties. CCA very proudly does have a presence in Arizona, as we own and operate six correctional facilities, employing more than 2,500 Arizona residents. These contracts are with other state and federal jurisdictions.”
Meanwhile, at Rancho de la Osa, Richard and Veronica Schultz said they don’t know much about the motives behind the politicians making alarming statements about the border.
Though their hacienda survived a real attack from Pancho Villa, it might not survive the war of words from politicians, Richard Schultz said.
“I think they’re covering their own personal interests, and as a consequence, Arizona and its tourism needs are being the sacrificial lambs to some extent,” he said.
“Although we are disappointed with the proposed budgets’ initiative to eliminate utilization of out-of-state prison capacity, we understand our partner’s fiscal concerns in a very difficult budgetary environment,” Corrections Corp. CEO Damon Hininger said in the news release.
Hininger went on to say that the company hopes to win a contract for the construction and management of 5,000 prison beds in the state. CCA already owns and operates six prisons in Arizona, which primarily house immigrant detainees and prisoners from other states such as California.
In what officials caution is now a dangerous and even deadly crime wave, Phoenix, Arizona has become the kidnapping capital of America, with more incidents than any other city in the world outside of Mexico City and over 370 cases last year alone. But local authorities say Washington, DC is too obsessed with al Qaeda terrorists to care about what is happening in their own backyard right now.
Wave of abductions hit Phoenix. Is Washington paying enough attention?
"We're in the eye of the storm," Phoenix Police Chief Andy Anderson told ABC News of the violent crimes and ruthless tactics spurred by Mexico's drug cartels that have expanded business across the border. "If it doesn't stop here, if we're not able to fix it here and get it turned around, it will go across the nation," he said.
Mexican drug cartels according to recent press reports have military style training camps on and near the border with the United States. These Training camps are for military-style killers. Federal authorities say these camps have Afghanistan and other middle eastern instructors who teach the latest military fighting tactics that are utilized in Iraq and Afghanistan by the Islamic radicals that are fighting and killing American and allied troops in those countries. Mexican officials admit they know of special training camps in the Mexican states of Tamaulipas and Michoacan, where newly recruited Zetas take intensive six-week training courses in weapons, tactics and intelligence gathering.
Iran is believed providing at least some of the money for this recruiting and training program. The training camps are teaching hit and run gorilla technique’s. Cells of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) have sent their seasoned veterans to oversee the training of the new troops and to direct the war against the Mexican government on behalf of the Mexican Cartels. Trained fighters from al-Qaida, Hizballah (Party of God) Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement) and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have been seen in Mexico and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has reported cells from these terrorist organizations are believed here in the U.S. as well. According to a well placed CIA operative.
I have to disagree with ur analogy here.
Originally posted by vulcanwizard
She is great ! We are proud of Her here and it shows by Her 70% approval rating . She will win in a landslide . She was handed a mess by the Governor who quit . She is doing a great job . Sorry .
Originally posted by boondock-saint
CCA runs permanent prisons
not temporary detention facilities.
CCA already owns and operates six prisons in Arizona,
which primarily house immigrant detainees and prisoners from other states such as California.