Monday, January 21, 2013

Backgrounder on Raul Grijalvla, candidate for Secretary of Interior

Raul Grijalva is one of the names being mentioned as a replacement for Ken Salazar as Secretary of Interior.  Recently over 130 "environmental and animal protection groups" have endorsed Grijalva for the position.  The following is an excerpt from a lengthy 2009 report by the CIS.

Ties to Environmentalist Groups

Grijalva has continued to pursue the environmental concerns he developed on the Pima County Board of Supervisors. He has grown increasingly important to environmental groups in his position as chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands. After the election of President Obama, they lobbied to have Grijalva appointed as Secretary of the Interior, a position that Grijalva wanted badly. But after Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar was named to head Interior, Grijalva has remained active on land and resource issues. He sponsored legislation that would have designated the Tumacacori Highlands, a rugged expanse just north of the Arizona-Mexican border, as a wilderness. That proposal, which drew criticism that it would hamstring the Border Patrol, has attracted little congressional support. Meanwhile, Grijalva is advancing legislation that would require the Border Patrol to consult closely with federal land managers and tribal governments to develop border enforcement strategies to minimize the environmental damage caused by border enforcement. That legislation has drawn enthusiastic support from environmental organizations. The Sierra Club has been especially active in promoting it. In late 2008, Grijalva issued a report that also drew rave reviews from environmental groups. It accused the Bush administration of pursuing a “concerted strategy” to reduce protection for federal lands, “opening up these lands for every type of private, commercial, and extractive industry possible.”31 But while Grijalva has frequently shown determination to restrain commercial forces in order to protect the environment, he is consistently willing to accommodate their hunger for low-wage immigrant labor. The policies he supports would ensure that American employers, from fast food franchisers to farmers to roofers and restaurateurs, have an inexhaustible supply of low-wage immigrant labor. They would also ensure massive growth of the nation’s population over the next 50 years, with enormous consequences both for other low-wage workers and for the environment of Arizona and other states. Grijalva’s alliances with environmental groups have helped to advance his immigration policies, and to muffle concerns about their consequences. His views on immigration are an extension of the ethnocentric politics he began pursuing as a young student activist in the 1960s. As he said during his first campaign for Congress, “We’re not running to remake ourselves. We’re running to reaffirm ourselves.”

No comments: