Former Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce, who was instrumental in getting Arizona's controversial immigration law passed, appeared on CNN's "Starting Point" on Tuesday and told Soledad O'Brien that "9/11 would've been averted" if the federal government had enforced immigration law.
Pearce was reacting to the Supreme Court's ruling on SB-1070, which resulted in three out of four provisions being declared unconstitutional but left one key component in place, the so-called "show me your papers" provision. He said he is "disappointed" the Court did not uphold all of the immigration law but reaffirmed that Arizona will continue enforcing section 2b, which allows police officers with "reasonable suspicion" to check on a person's immigration status.
Condescendingly, O'Brien asked Pearce how police in Arizona would implement the remaining portion of the bill. "How is it going to be enforced? How's it going to work? What does it look like? Someone's driving in a car and they are stopped with a broken taillight – what happens?"
"Well, nothing if everything's OK," Pearce replied. "It's like any other stop. An officer is trained to pay attention to things that don't fit."
Pearce went on to argue that two out of three Americans "agree with what Arizona is doing" and called SB-1070 a "reasonable law" that only "codifies" federal law.
"There's never been a preemption against the states enforcing the law, never," he said. "But apparently to the cheap labor, the cheap vote crowd, it's OK. The deaths and costs in billions of dollars is OK for them. It's outrageous."
"Do you know had the immigration laws been enforced... 9/11 would've been averted?" he asked O'Brien. "Four out of the five main hijackers were stopped by law enforcement and let go and were in the country illegally... But apparently that's OK to the Left."
The host interrupted and told Pearce he was "articulating the frustration" of the people in Arizona. She then quickly shifted the conversation from the failure of the federal government in enforcing immigration law to racial profiling. She asked him how he could ensure racial profiling didn't occur while immigration law is being enforced.
“First of all, that’s demeaning to law enforcement to even assume that,” Pearce replied. He added there have been no legitimate cases of racial profiling resulting from SB-1070 confirmed in Arizona and Chief Justice John Roberts made that very clear in the beginning of oral arguments of the Supreme Court case.
Watch the entire interaction on CNN here: