Ariz. governor considers changing controversial immigration law

Saturday, July 31, 2010 | 6:41 p.m. CDT; updated 9:12 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 31, 2010

PHOENIX — A federal appeals court has decided not to step into the controversy over Arizona's tough immigration law until November, leaving state officials to consider other steps they might take in the meantime.

Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed the law and appealed a ruling blocking its most controversial sections, said Friday she would consider changes to "tweak" the law to respond to the parts U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton faulted.

"Basically we believe (the law) is constitutional but she obviously pointed out faults that can possibly be fixed, and that's what we would do," Brewer said. She said she's talking to legislative leaders about the possibility of a special session, but said no specific changes had been identified.

In her temporary injunction Wednesday, Bolton delayed the most contentious provisions of the law, including a section that required officers to check a person's immigration status while enforcing other laws. Bolton indicated the federal government's case has a good chance at succeeding in its argument that federal immigration law trumps state law.

Brewer has said she'll challenge the decision all the way to the Supreme Court.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in an order late Friday that it will hold a hearing on Brewer's challenge in the first week of November. Briefs from the state are due Aug. 26.

Brewer had asked for an expedited appeals process, with a hearing scheduled for the week of Sept. 13. State lawyers had argued that the appeal involves an issue of "significant importance" — the state's right to implement a law to address "the irreparable harm Arizona is suffering as a result of unchecked unlawful immigration."

The federal government countered that there was no need to expedite the matter because "the only effect of the district court's injunction in this case is to preserve a status quo that has existed for a long period of time."

Calls Friday night to Brewer spokesman Paul Senseman and Phoenix attorney John Bouma, who is defending the immigration law on the governor's behalf, were not immediately returned.

Democrats scoffed at Brewer's desire to change the law, with a key House minority leader calling it laughable.

"Why would we help her?" asked Rep. Kyrsten Sinema of Phoenix. "This bill is so flawed and clearly a federal judge agrees."

House Speaker Kirk Adams said there would be little support among fellow Republicans to weaken the law.

Attorneys have begun reviewing the statute to identify possible changes, he said: "It's embryonic."

Sen. Russell Pearce, the law's chief sponsor, said he would only back changes to make it stronger.

Even though the law's critics scored a huge victory with the judge's decision, passions among hundreds of immigrant rights supporters still flared at demonstrations near the federal courthouse in downtown Phoenix after the parts of the law that weren't blocked took effect Thursday. At least 70 people have been arrested.

The law's supporters reacted too, and a fund set up to help defend the measure added $75,000 Wednesday alone, giving the state more than $1.6 million to get Bolton's ruling overturned.

Meanwhile, hundreds of e-mails and phone calls — including some threats — have poured into the courthouse.

Federal officials in charge of court security wouldn't say whether anyone made a death threat against Bolton and wouldn't provide specifics of the threats they were examining. But a majority of the e-mails and phone calls to the judge's chambers and the court clerk's office are from people who want to grouse about her ruling, officials said.

"We understand that people will vent and have a First Amendment right to express their dissatisfaction. We expect this," said David Gonzales, the U.S. marshal for Arizona. "But we want to look at the people who go over the line."


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Carlos Sanchez July 31, 2010 | 7:41 p.m.

But what about Article 3 Section 2 Clause 2 of the United States Constitution?

Also what about Immigration and Nationality Act Section 287(g)

The media is missing the boat on these two laws as stated in our Government Documents as being Legal and Binding.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith August 1, 2010 | 5:31 a.m.

Immigration matters are part and parcel of the federal government's responsibility. What this controversial state law has succeeded in doing is expose the bankruptcy of the federal government in handling the situation. If "bankruptcy" seems too stringent, substitute "lack of effective legislation and enforcement." Are we supposed to believe that Congress or the White House will seriously address the problem before the November election?

This is more than just partisan politics. Lack of serious federal action goes back several Presidents, which includes both political parties.

The problem of illegal immigration is framed in several contexts (some truly heart rending), but the major cause is economic. How many U. S. citizens illegally cross our southern land boundaries to take up illegal residence in Mexico or Central America? How many persons from Mexico, Central America and points further south would illegally enter the United States if they believed they have no chance to find employment?

(Report Comment)
Carlos Sanchez August 1, 2010 | 11:07 a.m.

Mr Smith we are being invaded and our resources plundered. It is that simple. Why isn't our Federal Government protecting us?

Could this be grounds for impeachment of Obama perhaps? IMHO yes it could be but we all know both parties are in this for the money and to hell with the will of "We The People". "We The People" have become "We The Pawns".

I would like to see Mr Schultz's take on Article 3 Section 2 Clause 2 and how it applies in this case.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz August 1, 2010 | 11:57 a.m.

If I'm understanding the legalese correctly, appellate jurisdiction would mean that the Supreme Court is the final arbiter of all other court decisions, while original jurisdiction means those cases go directly to the Supreme Court.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith August 1, 2010 | 12:05 p.m.


It could get worse, no matter how things go in Washout, D. C. There is a real possibility the Republic of Mexico could collapse into anarchy. My Mexican friends are worried that it might.

(Report Comment)
Carlos Sanchez August 1, 2010 | 12:31 p.m.

@Mr Schultz the way alot of bloggers are looking at Article 3 Section 2 Clause 2 is that Bolton had no right in even trying this case nor the 9th Court either. That is just what I gather coming out of alot of bloggers.

(Report Comment)
Carlos Sanchez August 1, 2010 | 12:33 p.m.

@Mr Smith. If that happens then our Military needs to seal the entire Southern Border real quick like.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith August 2, 2010 | 7:41 a.m.

@ Carlos Sanchez

I agree with your suggestion of having trooops sent to the border. We need to remember that some of our most experienced troops are not available; they are fighting a war to prop up a corrupt government in a land that is well known for drug trafficking.

Gee, Carlos, I didn't know that we already have U. S. military forces fighting in the Republic of Mexico. Did you?

Now I'll get serious. The repercussions of the fall of the Mexico federal government would have far more negative effects on the United States than just increased illegal border crossings. For one thing, stock markets here and in major industrialized countries would take a hit, and our rrecession would deepen and unemployment would increse.
Mexico is a NAFTA partner, and that alone has economic consequences.

(Report Comment)
Carlos Sanchez August 2, 2010 | 9:19 a.m.

Mr Smith eewwwwww there is that ugly NAFTA word. I knew that would pop up but just did not know how long it would take.

That is an entire subject all on it's own.

(Report Comment)

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