Updated December 12, 2004

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Fed Up With Fraud, Arizona Citizens Hit Polls to End Welfare & Vote Scams

On Nov. 2, voters in Arizona passed the initiative known as Prop 200, also known as the Arizona Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, which amends state law to ensure that only American citizens can vote in elections and
obtain welfare benefits.

Despite powerful opposition on the part of the state’s mainstream media and Gov. Janet Napolitano, the measure still passed 56 percent to 44 percent.

Advocates of Prop 200 had been accused of being “racist,” “anti-Semitic” and “white separatist” by opponents simply because they supported the proposal.

AFP first reported on Prop 200 in the Oct. 11 issue. Virginia Abernethy, chairman of the national advisory board to Protect Arizona Now, the organization that sponsored the initiative, spoke with AFP on Nov. 3.

Abernethy, who is professor emeritus of anthropology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., and was born to American parents in Cuba, has been an outspoken advocate for reforming immigration in the United States. However, Abernethy has been vilified by critics of Prop 200 as a “white supremacist” and a racist.

“Interestingly, I have been told that almost 50 percent of Hispanics also supported the measure,” said Abernethy.

The Arizona secretary of state’s office was unable to confirm this, as officials will not be able to compile the demographic information until Nov. 12. However, Abernathy said the measure had broad appeal.

“The governor had been implying that services like firefighting would be affected or immunizations would be affected,” said Abernethy. “In fact, none of that is affected. Only public benefits are affected.”

AFP had obtained a copy of the measure courtesy of Protect Arizona Now. It states:

“This state finds that illegal immigration is causing economic hardship to this state and that illegal immigration is encouraged by public agencies within this state that provide public benefits without verifying immigration status. This state further finds that illegal immigrants have been given a safe haven in this state with the aid of identification cards that are issued without verifying immigration status, and that this conduct contradicts federal immigration policy, undermines the security of our borders and demeans the value of citizenship. Therefore, the people of this state declare that the public interest of this state requires all public agencies within this state to cooperate with federal immigration authorities to discourage illegal immigration.”

According to the newly passed initiative, state officials will now be obligated to verify the identity of voters and welfare recipients before they can get benefits from the state. Officials would legally have to confirm that voters
and welfare recipients are U.S. citizens. It is already a “class 2” misdemeanor for state workers not to report violations of federal immigration law by anyone who applies for benefits or tries to vote.

Prop 200 also states that the new law will be carried out “without regard to race, religion, gender, ethnicity or national origin.”

Proponents contend that this means it does not matter whether an illegal alien comes from Eastern Europe, China, the Middle East or Mexico, U.S. officials will now be legally obligated to guard against and report lawbreakers.

“The proposal would save around one-half billion dollars in services,” said Abernethy. “That’s huge. Obviously, Arizonans saw the truth about this measure despite what others said.”

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