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Opinion: Scaring up votes in Arizona

The governor of Arizona is painting every illegal immigrant as a drug mule for dangerous Mexican cartels.

I’ll second that. In my many conversations with border patrol agents and supervisors over the last 15 years, I have been thoroughly disabused of any notion that drug smugglers dabble in immigrant smuggling and vice versa. Everyone stays in their lane in the border businesses, so no one loses his head.

It’s true that some illegal immigrants, when discovered, have bags of marijuana or cocaine strapped to their bodies. But “some” is not “most.” Besides, as Bonner pointed out, just because many of these immigrants try to dodge responsibility by claiming they were forced to bring in the drugs by cartels doesn’t make it so. Cartels move large quantities of contraband and they don’t fret over nickels and dimes.

But what do we know? These are just facts and Brewer has no use for those — especially not in the middle of a political campaign.

Back in April, during the signing ceremony for SB1070, Brewer tried to assuage concerns by critics who worried about how the law would be implemented. “I will not tolerate racial discrimination or racial profiling in Arizona,” she said.

Now Brewer is doing a little profiling herself by painting every illegal immigrant in the state as a recovering drug mule for dangerous cartels.

By mixing the apples of the Mexican drug war with the oranges of the public relations war against illegal immigrants being waged by Republican politicians, Brewer hopes to scare up votes and increase public support for every heartless and harebrained idea that she and her GOP colleagues can come up with to make life in Arizona inhospitable for illegal immigrants.

That’s only fair. After all, it’s illegal immigrants who over the last 15 years of building homes, tending gardens, serving food, cleaning homes, cooking meals and tending children helped to make the Grand Canyon State more hospitable for everyone else.

Ruben Navarrette Jr. is a nationally syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group, a regular commentator for National Public Radio, and a weekly contributor to