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E.J.Dionne On The Arizona Statute, Immigration Politics, and the NRA and Mexican Violence

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The Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne is a frequent and welcome guest on the radio show, and on Tuesday we discussed the Arizona immigration bill and the politics of immigration reform. The transcript is here.

Our last couple of minutes brought the most email:

HH: Now let me ask you about this Arizona law in a different context. You followed the violence in Phoenix, I’m sure. You know about the cross-border kidnappings, about the murder of the rancher. You know the fence isn’t finished. Has the federal government failed Arizona in failing to secure that border?

EJD: The federal government has failed Arizona and Mexico by caving to the National Rifle Association, where we are helping, guns from our country are helping to arm the drug dealers and their folks below the border. So if there is a failure here, it’s a failure to pass decent gun laws. If these guns were coming the other way across the Mexican border into our country, we would be furious. In terms of border enforcement as such, the evidence is that the border is tighter now than it was before, and for reasons having nothing to do with border security, but everything to do with the economy. Immigration has seemed to go the other way. There were more people returning to Mexico that coming across the border our way. Or that at least has been the case for the while in the recession.

HH: And E.J., do you think the violence in Mexico is because of American weaponry being shipped down there? We’ve got a minute.

EJD: No, I think the violence in Mexico is because you have drug cartels. But I think the drug cartels are finding it much easier to arm themselves because of our gun laws.

HH: Now I’m curious about that. We’ve got 30 seconds. On what do you base that, because I think that’s…

EJD: Oh, I could, I wish I had it in front of me. I’ve read some studies on this, and the Mexican government and folks down, law-abiding people down in Mexico have complained about the ease with which these guns can be purchased in the United States. It’s a real problem.

HH: You think…

EJD: I would go back and look at it, Hugh.

HH: I think that’s a significant reach, but E.J., always a pleasure. E.J. Dionne from the Washington Post, America.

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