Feathered Bastard

Ricky Martin Blasts Arizona Bigot Law, Kris Kobach's Supposed E-Mail to Russell Pearce, Republicans Tinker With SB1070, All-Star Game Imperiled, and More

Ricky Martin's joined the ranks of Latino entertainers blasting Arizona's new "papers please" legislation.

At the Billboard Latin Music Awards yesterday in Puerto Rico, he deviated from his scripted remarks to denounce the law, with a shout out to Sand Land.

"You are not alone. We are with you. Put a stop to discrimination. Put a stop to hate. Put a stop to racism," he told the audience.

Pop star Paulina Rubio and Latin Artist of the Year Larry Hernandez also criticized the law at the event.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa jumped on the bash-AZ express, supporting the call for an Arizona boycott Thursday, saying that debate over the legislation was "a call to action." He urged people to participate in massive, pro-immigrant May Day marches that are scheduled to take place Saturday in Los Angeles, Phoenix, and across the country.

In Chicago, about 100 protesters demonstrated against the Arizona Diamondbacks, who were at Wrigley Field to play the Cubs. Protesters shouted "Reform not racism," "No Jim Crow," and "No SB1070," according to the Chicago Sun-TimesAt least one man tore up his ticket to the game.

The protest was part of a growing push to boycott the Diamondbacks as symbolic representatives of the Grand Canyon State.

New York Congressman Jose Serrano and others are calling for Major League Baseball to yank its scheduled 2011 All-Star Game from Phoenix, a move that could cost an estimated $40 million in revenue for the city. Serrano observed the large number of Latino baseball players in MLB.

"These are the folks who would be walking down the streets and have their rights violated," the Chicago Tribune quoted him as saying.

Mike Lupica, sports writer for the New York Daily News, has also called for the All-Star Game to stripped from Cactus Country.

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has yet to comment on the issue.

On an international note, the Organization of American States' Inter-American Commission for Human Rights recently issued a statement expressing "deep concern over" the new law.

Yesterday, Republicans in the Arizona legislature tinkered with the new law in a bill that grants $200,000 for an armed vigilante force on the Arizona-Mexico border.

Some of the changes would likely help the law during its numerous court challenges. For instance, the troublesome word "solely," which was part of a provision forbidding officers from "solely" considering "race, color or national origin" in executing the law, has been scrapped. The word "solely" actually allowed officers to use any combination of those factors.

And instead of someone being asked for their papers during any "lawful contact," the language would read "any lawful contact or arrest." If that sounds less broad, the legislators loosened it up with the phrase, "in the enforcement of any other law or ordinance of a county, city or town, or this state."

The legislation, HB 2162, has been transmitted to Governor Jan Brewer. You can read a summary of the changes,here.

Interestingly, an explanation of the broadness of this provision may have been inadvertently offered by nativist attorney Kris Kobach. This e-mail was forwarded to me and apparently has been kicking around the Internet.

From: Kobach, Kris W.

To: russellpearce ; [email protected] 

Sent: Wednesday, April 28, 2010 7:42 PM 


I discussed all of the changes with Mike Hethmon and he concurred. But there is one additional point that he suggested--which you will certainly agree with.

When we drop out "lawful contact" and replace it with "a stop, detention, or rest, in the enforcement a violation of any title or section of the Arizona code" we need to add "or any county or municipal ordinance." This will allow police to use violations of property codes (ie, cars on blocks in the yard) or rental codes (too many occupants of a rental accommodation) to initiate queries as well. 

I have not received anything from the people on the phone this afternoon. Please ensure that they make this addition as well.



Kobach is the guy getting paid $300 per hour from Maricopa County coffers to "train" MCSO goons on immigration law, or his version of it anyway. Hopefully, our new County Attorney Rick Romley can cut off the money flow to Kobach.

I called Kobach's office, and he got back to me saying he could not "confirm or deny" that the e-mail is his, nor could he comment on any such e-mails, as they would be "protected by attorney-client privilege."

He did, however, admit that he had been advising state Senator Russell Pearce on the law, and stressed that he was not being paid to do so.

In case you're wondering, Mike Hethmon (mentioned above) is the director of the Immigration Reform Law Institute, the legal arm of the hate group FAIR. Kobach is also an attorney with IRLI. As I've mentioned before, Russell Pearce has the IQ of your average Idaho potato. He's not capable of writing a sane sentence, much less a law. The legal beagles at IRLI and FAIR obviously wrote it for him.

I should also note that, despite these minor changes, the law still allows police officers to presume you are an illegal alien unless you have certain forms of ID on you. If you don't have such ID on you, a cop can detain you until your status is determined. So you still have to carry your "papers" with you at all times in Arizona, even if you are a citizen.

Finally, state Rep. Ben Miranda jumped the gun, filing a lawsuit in federal district court over the new Arizona law on behalf of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders. As my colleague Ray Stern noted in his blog post, the filing has problems.

Miranda should have waited for the ACLU and MALDEF to file a lawsuit first, as there are better legal minds there to tackle the constitutional issues involved. But Miranda is a bit of a glory hog. By filing this thing first, he confuses the issues at play and potentially forces others filing after him to join his lawsuit.

Which wouldn't be a problem, necessarily, if his suit wasn't mucked up from jump.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons