Russell Pearce Is Actually Going to Defend SB 1070 Before Senate Subcommittee

Ousted state Senate President Russell Pearce is actually going to defend Senate Bill 1070 before a US Senate Subcommittee in April.

The spokesman for ​New York Democratic Senator Charles Schumer just sent the information over, saying Pearce will answer questions before the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration the day before the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments about the state's controversial immigration law.

"Schumer, the chairman of the Senate's immigration subcommittee, said he has accepted an offer by Pearce to testify, but he repeated his challenge for Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to also appear," the statement says.

Schumer sent a letter to Governor Jan Brewer a few weeks ago asking her to defend the law, but her press secretary dismissed it as a "publicity stunt."

After that, Pearce raised his hand, telling Valley reporter Howie Fischer that as the author, "there's nobody better" to defend the law.

Pearce apparently doesn't really want to go away after his 12-point loss in the recall election -- according to our colleague Stephen Lemons, Pearce is actually planning to run for a state Senate seat in a newly formed legislative district.

While Schumer's accepted Pearce's offer, he still thinks Brewer's the one who needs to show up.

"Other Arizona officials responsible for this law are willing to come and defend it, but not Governor Brewer," Schumer says. "The governor is the one who signed this bill into law; she shouldn't leave the defense of it to others."

Schumer's letter to Brewer asked the governor to testify about whether she thinks SB 1070 is still necessary, citing the increased federal funding for border security and programs in legislation Schumer got passed in August 2010.

Here's exactly what Schumer said he wanted to hear from Brewer about:

Given the new level of security at our Southern Border as result of the August 2010 law, it would be extremely beneficial for the Committee to hear from you with regard to: 1) why you signed SB 1070 in 2010; 2) whether you still believe SB 1070 is necessary in light of the substantially increased security situation along our southern border; and 3) whether you favor SB 1070 being made a permanent law irrespective of whether conditions further improve along the southern border. We would also appreciate any other insight you can provide regarding the legality and prudence of enacting state immigration laws. As you frequently ask the President to visit the southern border to discuss border security, we expect that you will be eager to engage in a productive dialogue with the Congressional Committee responsible for acting upon any border security recommendations you provide.

We'd assume Pearce will face similar questions, but we'll have to fire up the C-SPAN on April 24 to find out.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley