State Senator Russell Pearce' s anti-immigrant/police state legislation is scheduled to go to the Senate floor Monday for its final read. There, legislators are expected to approve the amended version that just emerged from the state House.
From the Senate, it will be transmitted to Governor Jan Brewer, who will likely sign the bill, though she could allow it to become law without her signature. The new law would take effect 90 days after the legislature adjourns.
Alessandra Soler Meetze, the Arizona ACLU's Executive Director, indicated to me that the ACLU is likely to challenge the law in the courts, but what form such a challenge would take is still up in the air.
"We're having preliminary discussions on what the format of the litigation will look like," she explained.
Meetz said the ACLU has yet to make a decision on whether or not to seek a preliminary injunction from a judge preventing the law from being enacted, as preliminary injunctions are "notoriously hard to get," she said.
The bill's weakest link is that it would violate the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
"The Supremacy Clause gives the federal government exclusive power to regulate our borders, and with very few exceptions, states are not free to create their own laws regulating immigration," the Arizona ACLU stated in a recent press release condemning the passage of the bill in the House.
Indeed, federal courts have long held that the federal government has plenary power over all matters related to immigration.
Pearce's bill essentially forces all agencies of the state, law enforcement and otherwise, to act as immigration enforcers. All persons in Arizona would be presumed to be aliens unless they are carrying Arizona, tribal or federal ID on them.
Even U.S. citizens would be subject to being stopped and asked for their papers. If they don't have ID on them, they could be arrested.
The passage of the bill has given Pearce a national forum to spew bogus statistics, tinged with ethnic bias. Recently he was on CNN with Pima County Legal Defender Isabel Garcia, calling her an "anarchist," and otherwise insulting her. (You can watch the video, here.)
Twice in the show he insisted that "50 percent of the homicides committed in Phoenix are committed by illegal aliens."
Where does Pearce get this number? The Phoenix Police Department's crime stats list 168 murders as occurring in 2008. About 52 percent have been labeled "cleared," while the remainder are unsolved. So how would Pearce know that illegal aliens committed half of Phoenix's homicides, when about half of the homicides committed in Phoenix have not been cleared?
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Neither the Phoenix PD's crime stats nor the FBI's crime stats publish anything to do with the immigration status of perpetrators. And yet, Pearce utters his shibboleths with impunity, even on national TV.
I recently did a blog item on Pearce's problem with the truth. He's rarely called on the bogus factoids he throws out on a regular basis.
And this is a huge problem. Because unless you call his bluff, people will inevitably believe these canards to be true. And if they buy this bigot's balderdash, they are more likely to back his cause.