As The Los Angeles Times reports, add another complaint to the frenzy over illegal immigrants and the “damage” they cause:
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Monday defended his statement over the weekend that illegal immigrants were responsible for some Arizona wildfires, citing congressional testimony and published reports to back his claim.
Speaking from his home state Saturday, McCain said there was “substantial evidence that some of these fires have been caused by people who have crossed our border illegally.” He didn’t specify what evidence, however [Pols emphasis]…
…Speaking on the “Imus in the Morning” show Monday, McCain stood by his statement.
“I was briefed by the Forest Service about the fact that illegal immigrants sometimes start these fires,” he said. And there has been testimony by service officials that “large numbers of warming and cooking fires built and abandoned by cross-border violators have caused wildfires that have destroyed cultural and natural resources.”
He also cited a Los Angeles Times report backing his claim, though it was unclear which story he was referring to.
Imus challenged McCain, though, saying the reports don’t prove illegal immigrants were responsible for the so-called Wallow blaze raging through eastern parts of the state.
McCain said he never was referring to the specific fire in his remarks. [Pols emphasis]
First off, kudos to Imus for not just nodding at McCain’s claims and actually challenging what he had to say.
Perhaps McCain is referring to the same band of invisible illegal immigrants whom Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler “almost certainly” have voted in past elections, despite a complete lack of evidence that this has ever happened in Colorado. And not that they haven’t looked — Mesa County Clerk Sheila Reiner — a Republican in a heavy Republican county — recently went public about her concerns that the SOS office doesn’t seem to have any records of any illegal immigrants having voted in Colorado, although that’s not what Gessler has told Congress and anyone else who will listen.
Look, illegal immigration is an important issue that deserves a serious discussion. But we can’t have those discussions when elected officials are always tossing around unconfirmed accusations about illegal immigrants casting ballots, causing fires, and beheading people in the desert. None of this does anything to address the actual problem of illegal immigration, and it devolves the entire discussion into a silly game of finger-pointing. What difference does this make, anyway? Are illegal immigrants known to be less careful with matches than legal residents? Can we now classify illegal immigrants as a “fire hazard?”
In our view this isn’t about defending or opposing illegal immigrants. This is about something much more fundamentally important — elected officials should not be allowed to just toss out harmful accusations against anybody without proof.
If McCain had accused an individual person of setting these fires, people would be elbowing each other trying to be the first to condemn his remarks. If McCain had said, I’m told that Ed Smith of Tucson set these fires. I don’t have any proof, but I’m pretty sure. — he would be absolutely roasted (pun intended) by the media and opinion makers on both sides of the aisle. But if he makes a baseless generic accusation against a faceless group of people — like illegal immigrants — then it’s not as big of a deal somehow. Yet it is still so very wrong, and so very irresponsible.
Perhaps this is all just a misdirection ruse so that people won’t realize that U.S. Senators actually set the fires in Arizona. We don’t have any proof of that, but we read it somewhere in a newspaper once, and this guy who we think works for the government confirmed the story.
He is getting to run for prez in 2012. With Palin moving into his territory/state and running for his seat he needs somewhere to go.
Maybe it should be pointed out that he is seeing things nobody else, including Brewer, are seeing. Qualifying that, I have not checked out Redstate or Freeperville yet. They see things normal humans can’t see.
he should have a cognitive health assessment. They have drugs now for dementia.
Nice to see you here, Pam. Hope you are well!
Now we know where all of our illegal immigrant voters in Colorado ran off to and what they got themselves up to…
He’s the only reason we have any forest left. He’s a brave, brave man.
(I know, people don’t think “brave” means what I think it means. 🙂 )
I don’t see what this story has to do with him.
Republican politicians who make shit up about immigrants to scare their base into becoming more motivated to hate immigrants.
Much easier than 7 degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon…
A serious discussion is the furthest thing from the minds of the people pushing this issue. Too many important industries take advantage of illegal immigrant labor for reform to be something they want to see, and the politicians pushing it realize it. This is about scapegoating, and unlike gays, the target is a section of society that can’t vote. Oh, they’ll tell you that they can, so we need draconian new laws to prove citizenship at the polls (and if traditionally Democratic voters find themselves as a disadvantage, so much the better), but comprehensive immigration reform? Perish the thought!
No, they just want to keep the base coming to the election booth. The economy sucks, but the GOP has too much of a track record of doing nothing to solve the problem, so let’s get people thinking about those folks who don’t look or talk like us.
While there are other fires burning in Arizona, this is the enormous historic fire we’re all hearing about every day. It’s the one we’ve been breathing every day. McCain is puzzled that people would think his comments refer to this fire. What’s puzzling is how he could possibly be puzzled by people making the assumption that the fire they’ve been hearing about all this time is not the one he meant when he spoke of illegals starting fires. On second thought, considering how befuddled McCain had has been sounding for years, it’s not really that puzzling.
After he retires, the news that will probably follow shortly thereafter of his suffering from some form of age related dementia will be the least surprising news flash since Reagan’s Alzheimer’s, already evident before he was elected for a second term, was “revealed”.
“it devolves the entire discussion into a silly game of finger-pointing. What difference does this make, anyway?”
Tiffany Hartley is a friend of a friend of mine. Her husband was killed on the border, possibly by the very guns U.S. officials were funneling to the drug cartels that bring people across the border. She is not engaged in a “silly game of finger pointing”. She is trying to find the mangled body of her husband. You should be ashamed of yourselves.
Since he’s too stupid to understand the concept.
chronic, unrepentant liar. (But, maybe David Chestnut has friended Hartley on Facebook — who knows? Kind of odd this first ever mention here, huh?)
Odds are very high given his reading/comprehension disabilities that he never read or understood Aesop. So, that’s the moral of story for the BJ who cried wolf . . .
I thought this kind of pathetic diversion was banned in junior high. Sorry BJ, this post was an epic fail.
from his votes to spend trillions fighting unnecessary wars instead of adequately funding the National Forest Service. It was the same result with Katina and the levees.
Don’t fund domestic programs and then when the worst case scenario happens blame somebody else.
Senator Kyl went one step further and blamed the Forest Service for the disaster while ignoring that he also voted for government spending cuts. Don’t give them the resources they need to do their job them blame them for the resulting problems. It’s good to be John McCain.
It promotes racism, Further, lets get concrete about the Secure Communities program: it is a modern day Jim Crow law aimed at entrenching a pemanent underclass of society. This is wrong.