SB 1070

Dennis DeConcini to Join Steve Gallardo and Russell Pearce at SB 1070 Hearing

Former Democratic U.S. Senator Dennis DeConcini -- who's currently on the Arizona Board of Regents -- has been added to the roster of witnesses for next week's Senate immigration subcommittee hearing on Arizona's Senate Bill 1070.

​New York Democratic Senator Charles Schumer, the chair of that subcommittee, initially tried to peg Governor Jan Brewer for the hearing, but had to resort to recalled Senate President Russell Pearce as a replacement after the governor refused.

Schumer's office announced yesterday that Democratic state Senator Steve Gallardo will also be testifying.

Schumer didn't add much commentary in his office's announcement on the addition of DeConcini, aside from that the ex-Senator publicly called for a repeal of 1070.

Still, DeConcini -- who turns 75 years old next month -- isn't exactly the same breed of lefty Gallardo is.

Sure, DeConcini's a Democrat and supported President Obama in his election bid.

But as our colleague Stephen Lemons covered in 2008, DeConcini was also stumping for Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Arpaio, ya know, the guy who says he's just enforcing the law.

"I've known him for 25 years," DeConcini said of Arpaio at the time.. "I worked with him for years on drug enforcement ... So I've known him for a long time, and, you know, he's a friend and a very professional cop."

Of course, that was pre-1070. As Schumer's office noted, DeConcini spoke out publicly against the bill.

He wrote in a 2010 Arizona Republic editorial that the law "has been seen as an act of intolerance and as prejudicial against our Hispanic brothers and sisters," adding that Arizona didn't need to be in another federal lawsuit, and said he's "tired of the acrimony and having our state singled out as racist."

On the other hand, some have been upset recently with DeConcini being on the board of directors for the Corrections Corporation of America -- one of the largest private-prison companies in the country, which happens to run a few immigrant pens.

Maybe that's just another reason to tune in to the hearing, in case watching Pearce testify before a U.S. Senate subcommittee isn't enough.

Schumer's office still says additional witnesses to the April 24 hearing will be announced in "the coming days," so we'll see who else they can dig up.