AZ Politician Wants To "Cut Off People's Powers" If They're Here Illegally

July 01, 2010 6:22 pm ET — Melinda Warner

Arizona politician Barry Wong is campaigning (for a position on the Arizona Corporation Commission) on a promise to cut off all utilities to those who are in Arizona illegally.

Today on Your World with Neil Cavuto, Barry Wong spoke with guest host Stuart Varney about Wong's campaign to deny illegal immigrants basic utilities (seemingly whether they pay for them or not).  And as the child of immigrants, Wong himself is at odds with the rest of the Arizonan anti-immigrant brigade who want to end birthright citizenship.  


STUART VARNEY:  Now, you're legal or lights out. An Arizona politician wants utility companies to shut off power to illegal immigrants. Barry Wong says that would cut rates for legal customers. Barry, by the way, is a candidate for the Arizona Corporation Commission which handles utility issues in the state and he joins me now. Mr. Wong, welcome to the program.

BARRY WONG: Thank you very much for having me.

VARNEY: I suspect there's a little tongue-in-cheek here. You don't really want to cut off the electricity to illegal immigrants, do you?

WONG: I think that could be a reality. I think we have to give proper thought and review and analysis but that's a serious contribution, number one not providing power and other utilities to new customers that are illegal but also looking at those that are existing customers.

VARNEY: Hold on a second, Mr. Wong, apart from the fact it would be unconstitutional, illegal and wildly impractical, this really is not gonna to happen, is it?

WONG: You have to look at the premises of my thought. It the corporation commission has authority to set the rates, the prices which utilities charge to all customers. So the job of a commissioner is to look at how to keep rates as low as possible. One of the issues to look at is to look at factors that impact the rates. If we have a population growing, fast growing, like illegal population, we have to ask, 'is that population impacting rates for everybody that is here as a U.S. Citizen or here illegally?'

VARNEY: Well you're running for election to this commission, you think it's electorally popular to turn off the lights for illegals, do ya?

WONG: I've been traveling around the state campaigning and the common theme is how to keep the rates as low as possible and minimize the rate increases. So yes, is there a correlation between the illegal population that impacts the rates and the -- the constitution of Arizona clearly states the commission has rate-making authority - setting the prices. So there is a correlation.

VARNEY: I see the point, Mr. Wong, you're taking this very, very seriously. I just find it hard to take seriously the idea you would actually cut off the power to a home if you found that an illegal was living in it. I find that hard to believe and I can't quite believe that in America, we would allow that to happen.

WONG: Power companies today cut off people's powers for nonpayment. So's an economic issue.

VARNEY: That's different. Nonpayment is very different from your immigration status.

WONG: But again, we're not targeting somebody because of skin color, it's their status in America. We're asking, is that if you're -- if you're here illegally and you're causing the services that citizens and legal residents have to pay higher prices potentially, for example building new and more expensive power plants, we all pay for that.

VARNEY: Alright. Barry Wong, it's an interesting point of view, we appreciate you being with us to share it.  Barry Wong, thanks very much.

WONG: Thank you very much.