Phoenix New Times columnist Stephen Lemons recently engaged in a delicious e-mail mano-a-mano with Brooke Buchanan, the spokesperson of Sen. John McCain, over the senator’s insistence that migrants caused some of Arizona’s recent wildfires.
To back up her boss’s statements, Buchanan sent Lemons old testimony and some newspaper clips indicating that unauthorized immigrants start wildfires.
But Lemons, aka The Feathered Bastard, noted in his column that Buchanan offered no documents indicating immigrants actually started the wildfires now raging in southern Arizona, as her boss had contended.
I don’t know why McCain said what he said, but he undoubtedly scared a lot of people into fearing firebug Mexicans will incinerate the nation.
We all know what happens when Americans get scared — they pass knee-jerk laws.
In Arizona, SB 1070 was passed after the 2010 killing of a borderlands rancher was blamed on a Mexican migrant. The rancher’s killing and the hysteria surrounding it scared Arizonans. They thought SB 1070 would protect the border.
It had nothing to do with the border.
It had everything to do with driving out Mexicans.
And get this — a year later, no one’s been charged with the rancher’s murder that prompted the passage of SB 1070.
The Feathered Bastard was right to point out that a white nationalist website V-DARE and border vigilante Glenn Spencer have hailed McCain’s ongoing insistence that wildfires on the border were caused by migrants. I’d like to add one more website to Lemons’ list — the apparently beleaguered nativist group ALIPAC, which linked to a CNN story about the McCain statement when it broke a few days ago.
Ironically, when ALIPAC endorsed J.D. Hayworth in the senate primary, McCain’s campaign called ALIPAC an “extreme group.” McCain and ALIPAC have not gotten along in the past.
Maybe they will now.
(Quick full disclosure: I was on a New Times staffer for 14 years. In 2010, I wrote an investigative package for my alma mater — on white-nationalist ties to groups fueling and funding the immigration debate. )