Peggy West, Milwaukee County Supervisor, questions Arizona border


Milwaukee County Supervisor Peggy West apparently considers size of the Mexico border an important immigration consideration. Image from Flickr.

The debate over Arizona’s immigration bill has often been heated on both sides, and Peggy West has reignited the debate. The Milwaukee, Wis., County Supervisor, an elected Democrat, made a few major mistakes in her speech against the measure, raising questions of basic geography, education and the election of officials. The reality of Peggy West’s comments are that she, like every other politician, should read up before speaking her opinion.

Peggy West’s Milwaukee comments

In a debate over a possible Milwaukee boycott on Arizona, County Supervisor Peggy West spoke out in support of the bill. Her comments, however, were based on the idea that Arizona simply does not share a border with Mexico. As video of the meeting shows, Peggy West stated

“If this was Texas, which is a state that is directly on the border with Mexico, and they were calling for a measure like this saying that they had a major issue with undocumented people flooding their borders, I would have to look twice at this. But this is a state that is a ways removed from the border,”

In interviews later, Peggy West did try to defend her statements and understanding of geography, saying

“I did get a passing grade in Geography in high school and in college and I do obviously know that Arizona is on the border… Had Texas come out with the legislation, having the largest border, I think that I would be more receptive to the fact that there was a problem. But having it be Arizona, having it be the second largest boarder and knowing there are troops on the border in Arizona, it didn’t seem to me that this legislation was particularly necessary at this moment in time,”

Some of the other members of the Milwaukee County Board did speak up during the meeting, assuring the observers that the board did, in fact, have a basic understanding of U.S. Geography.

The bill being debated

Since Arizona passed S.B. 1070, which makes it legal for police officer to request documentation from people they believe might be in the country illegally, many locales have reacted strongly. Many cities and counties, though no states yet, have passed so-called “Arizona boycotts.” The basic argument is not that Arizona’s bill is unfair and indefensible. Other states, however, are considering similar bills. There are also citizen’s initiatives seeking signatures in states such as Washington. In short, reactions across the country to Arizona’s step into immigration reform have been strong in both directions.

What do you think? Should cities and counties be stepping into the immigration debate?

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