Arizona’s Gov. Brewer Braces for Lawsuits

Over Memorial Day weekend, tens of thousands of people marched in Phoenix, AZ, to protest SB1070, a law that forces immigrants to carry papers at all times and makes it possible for any police officer to detain on suspicion of immigration status alone. 

At RaceWire, Jorge Rivas reports that “an official crowd estimate was not available for Saturday’s SB1070 protest,” but that “officials overheard on the police scanner the estimated crowd at about 30,000.” Marchers also demanded that President Barack Obama nullify SB1070 by means of a legal challenge from the Justice Department.

Phoenix has become well-known for its anti-immigrant hysteria. The city is part of Maricopa County, home to Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is being sued by the American Civil Liberties Union for racial profiling after targeting Latino neighborhoods and work sites for raids. The Sheriff has also garnered additional civil rights lawsuits and a pending investigation by the Justice Department relating to civil liberties violations in Arpaio’s “Tent City” jail.

Meanwhile, the fate of a comprehensive immigration reform bill is up in the air. The U.S. Senate is balking at the issue, even though reform proponents continue to participate in civil disobedience actions and marches.

Bring in the Justice Department

But there may be hope. Jessica Pieklo at Care2 writes that “It is becoming clearer and clearer that the only resolution to this issue will be a federal-state showdown, reminiscent of the ordered de-segretation of the South.” This week, unidentified Justice Department officials traveled to Phoenix to discuss SB1070, which will be enforced on July 29th. They came to no consensus.

In response to the number of anticipated legal challenges against SB1070, not to mention mounting national pressure, Eric Lach reports for TPM Live Wire that Gov. Jan Brewer will “have outside counsel defend the state against legal challenges to the laws — not the state’s Attorney General Terry Goddard, a Democrat and one of Brewer’s opponents in Arizona’s gubernatorial race.” The announcement came shortly after federal officials traveled to the state to discuss SB1070.

Cops against SB1070

Back at Care2, Pieklo also notes that SB1070 has polarized Arizona’s law enforcement community, with “Sheriff Joe Arpaio and some associations representing rank-and-file officers supporting it while a number of police chiefs have expressed growing unease with the law and see it as a means of driving a wedge between law enforcement and the Latino community, which represents approximately one in three legal Arizona residents.”

Where’s Congress?

The U.S. Senate has been notably absent from the immigration reform debate. Even though a reform proposal is already on the House floor, if the Senate doesn’t introduce a bill soon, immigration reform will likely fail this year. Despite two separate proposed drafts of plans for a bill in the Senate, nothing has been introduced officially. Even if a bill is introduced, the Senate still needs time to debate it, which makes for an uneasy race against the clock.

Immigration and elections

AlterNet reporter Michele Waslin examines how the immigration issue has influenced recent electoral primaries. “For the last several years Congress has failed to come up with a solution, despite the evidence that this is an important issue to their constituencies,” Waslin writes.

“Because Congress hasn’t acted and the problem isn’t resolving itself, some states and localities have taken action — some out of a genuine desire to fix the problem, and others to score political points. The newly passed law in Arizona and the various copycats are evidence that the states are not backing down.”

Currently, the chances that the Senate will have the gumption to take on a reform bill appear bleak, especially with a Congressional election in November.

‘We want common sense to rule’

Meanwhile, the White House’s decision to send 1,200 troops to the U.S.-Mexico border has drawn sharp criticism from border communities in Texas. Hidalgo Mayor John David Franz, who represents roughly 7,000 constituents along the Rio Grande, lobbied against the troop deployment.

“Before Congress throws more money at the border, we’re asking them to take a step back and assess whether it’s working first,” Franz said in an interview with The Texas Observer. “We want common sense to rule. We don’t want wasteful spending, and we don’t need any more walls.”

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about immigration by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint.



photo credit: thanks to Fibonacci Blue via flickr
by Erin Rosa, Media Consortium blogger


LMj Sunshine
James Merit5 years ago

Thank you.

LMj Sunshine
James Merit5 years ago

Thank you.

Kathy Javens
Kathy Javens7 years ago

i am all for equality for everybody. but with all that has happened in the recent past, i think we should take care of our own first.

Eli Is Here
.7 years ago

Thanks for posting this article & links Nicole!!

SusanQ S.
Susan S7 years ago

Well Hell !! If the mexicans don't like OUR laws ---Let's just pass and ENFORCE a copy of their laws (See Evie M. -6-7-10)
I for one ,am damn sick and tired of my tax dollars paying for their food, housing, medical care, babies, and legal fees. I have enough trouble paying my own bills without having my taxes raised to pay for theirs.
It's WAY past time that we take our country back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Michael P.
Mike P7 years ago

So, wait, if you're an illegal, can you sue in US courts now? This "debate" has officially gone bananas. Anyone not standing with Arizona on this one is either an illegal, or someone who makes his or her LIVING off the illegals. Either way, shame on you for turning this into an argument it was never meant to be.

Kathy O.
Kathy O.7 years ago

As a U.S. citizen born in this country, I am appalled and deeply worried at the current state of affairs regarding the HUGE INFLUX OF THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS OF ILLEGAL MEXICANS forcing and flooding their way into our country by any means possible!!! Not to mention, there has been a surge in violence and even murder of border patrol agents and U.S. citizens who get in the way of these illegals. Why isn't our President putting a stop to this monumental problem in its tracks??!! Why do you think we will all have to bear the brundt of much higher health care costs because of the new healcare reform bill that was signed into effect because this country now has all of these illegal aliens to support who should never have been allowed to enter into this country in the first place and right in front of our eyes. No other country would have allowed this why are we???!! It is and continues to be a humungous problem that has to be stopped now!

Mexican President Calderon had colossal nerve to come over to this country to meet with President Obama and complain that officials in Arizona were "racially profiling" people of hispanic origin. Maybe if the Mexican president knew how to take care of his own problems in his own country instead of making it this country's problem maybe all of the Mexican citizens wouldn't ALL be running for the border! HELLO TALK ABOUT TWISTING THE TRUTH!!! Arizona is quite correct and within its rights and I applaude them for having enough guts to sta

Les Lambert
Les Lambert7 years ago

People in this country have a right to their opinions--that is a fact. What disturbs me is that we have become a nation that seems to honor intolerance. Profiling is incideous. Let me show a personal example.
I lived in a town in Massachusetts for 14 years. I look as "white" as anyone in the town. I had breakfast in the same diner every saturday during that time--no problems. I have native american blood and one day I wore my regalia into this diner--big problem! I was told my "kind" would not be served--I went somewhere else but when I returned home later that evening I found trash scattered all over my yard. This may be isolated, but I think not. I truly feel that we need to end our hatred and intolerance of others--differences can be beautiful

Mike S.
Mike S.7 years ago

I don't think you, who support the Undocumented Immigrants, realize just how our country is being affected. The law that allows US Citizenship for being born on US Soil was enacted to address the Negro slaves brought to the USA INVOLUNTARILY. The huge surge of Undocumented Immigrants sneaking across our border to have Babies also known as "Anchor Babies", is VOLUNTARY. They are using a loophole to gain access to the USA and our Social Services. Many cannot read or write, SPANISH. They have no Universal Education. They are poor and have no money. At the Parkland Hospital in Dallas Texas, there are 15,000 births a year, a public hospital, 70% of those births are from mothers who are not US Citizens. In further researching how many Babies are born from NON-US citizens, the number came up. There are 4 million Babies born in the US every year. ONE MILLION are from women who are NOT US Citizens. Most birth costs are born by the tax payer, both local and Federal, your taxes.
How long do you think we can continue to afford the burden these people, who come to the USA for one thing only, to birth a child to gain access to our Social benefits?
You guys better wake up. The Illegal Immigration issue is about MONEY, not bias or discrimination, but MONEY.
When the money runs out, our kids, the US Citizens will have trouble coming up with enough to maintain our education system. Ask any of the 300,000 school teachers who are losing their jobs this year due to the recession.

Evie M.
EVELYN M7 years ago

Sorry for the confusion
" Mexicans here and in Mexico are rather upset by the recent enactment of stricter anti-illegal alien laws by Arizona 's governor.

In light of the following, that position demonstrates the typical double standard used by race-hustlers and assorted something-for-nothings. Read on, and read it to the end.

New Immigration Laws: Read to the bottom

1 There will be no special bilingual programs in the schools.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

2. All ballots will be in this nation's language.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

3. All government business will be conducted in our language.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

4. Non-residents will NOT have the right to vote no matter how long they are here.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

5. Non-citizens will NEVER be able to hold political office

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

6 Foreigners will not be a burden to the taxpayers. No welfare, no food stamps, no health care, or other government assistance programs. Any burden will be deported.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

7. Foreigners can invest in this country, but it must be an amount at least equal to 40,000 times the daily minimum wage.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

8. If foreigners come here and buy land... options will be restr