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Has Brewer gone too far with her latest executive order?

Yesterday Arizona Governor Jan Brewer issued an executive order that reiterates that state agencies are required to deny licenses and public benefits to undocumented immigrants. She has extended this stipulation to also include all beneficiaries of President Obama’s recent decision to grant “deferred action”:

The federal program prevents young people who were brought into the country illegally as children from being deported if they were younger than 16 years old when they got here, are younger than 30, have lived in the U.S. continually since June 15, 2007, and have no felony convictions.

Estimates are that roughly 80,000 kids would qualify in Arizona. The program provides safe harbor for two years.

You can read theGovernor’s Executive Order here.

This immediately caused an uproar amongst immigration supporters as they felt it was another showing of Brewer being anti-immigration and xenophobic. There is a lot of validity to this argument. Why should she do something like this, we might be asking ourselves, if not to be just plain mean? Her defense has been that this is simply reiterating existing laws, which she has sworn to uphold. So her basic defense is that this is simply holding to existing law.

The problem might be that she doesn’t completely understand the law.

The ACLU argues that:

This is yet another reason why Arizona has no business trying to regulate immigration matters,” said Alessandra Soler, executive director of the ACLU of Arizona. “Brewer is distorting federal law and inaccurately interpreting state law. This order conflicts with state and federal law because people who are granted deferred action will, in fact, have authorized presence in the United States and under Arizona law people who have authorized presence are eligible to apply for Arizona state identification. She is perpetuating the myth that deferred action applicants are somehow submitting fraudulent documents and that is completely false. Not only is she singling out young people who are eligible for deferred action, but she also is excluding other categories of non-citizens who are authorized to be in the country, including victims of domestic violence, from obtaining state-identification while their immigration applications are being processed.

So while Brewer’s argument of legal backing may sound convincing the reality is that it is murky at best and outright wrong at worst.

At the end of the day this probably means another lawsuit for the taxpayers of Arizona to pay for as our politicians play pretend law. Remind you of anything like say SB1070?

Arizona Senate President Pearce Faces Recall

Today David Michael Cantor, a Phoenix Criminal Defense Lawyer, talks about the upcoming recall election of Arizona Senate President Russle Pearce. David talks about how a Pearce supporter, Franklin Bruce, filed a notice of appeal in an attempt to call the election off. However despite these attempts to stop the recall Judge Hugh Hegyi of Maricopa Superior Court decided to throw out the case.

Here is more from CNN:

An Arizona judge ruled Friday that a special election to recall state Senate President Russell Pearce, the primary sponsor behind a controversial anti-illegal immigration law that a federal court struck down in April, can be held November 8 as planned.
In an 11-page ruling, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Hugh E. Hegyi rejected nearly all of the arguments alleging problems with the recall petition.
The suit was filed by Franklin Bruce Ross, who backs Pearce and who alleged problems in the way the recall petitions were filled out. The suit cited as an example the language in the oath sworn by the circulators of the recall petitions did not state that the signatures collected were “genuine” or the “functional equivalent.”
But Hegyi concluded that the legislation concerning recall elections does not mandate that the oath contain the word “genuine.” “It merely requires ‘an’ oath that the Petition signatures are genuine, but does not prescribe a specific oath that will accomplish that objective,” the judge wrote.
In this case, the requirements of the law — which he described as constitutional — have been met, he said.
“Obviously, I’m pleased,” said Thomas Ryan of Chandler, Arizona, a lawyer who represented the petition-drive organizers Citizens for a Better Arizona. “It’s a big victory for the 10,000-plus people who signed that recall petition to get rid of their senator.”
In an e-mail sent to Ryan, Lisa Hauser, the attorney representing Pearce supporter Ross, said she would appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court. She did not immediately return a call from CNN seeking comment.
In May, the group Citizens for a Better Arizona submitted petitions to Arizona’s secretary of state, defendant Ken Bennett, who certified that they contained 10,296 signatures — 2,540 more than the required number.
At the time, Pearce did not respond to requests to comment on the recall campaign, but said of his supporters: “I am so grateful that some of my friends have stepped forward to oppose this recall and defend the truth. The personal, hurtful attacks by people who don’t even live in Arizona must stop. Working together, we can bring Arizonans together and move our state forward.”
His supporters have formed their own group, The Citizens Who Oppose the Pearce Recall.
Pearce, a Republican, sponsored Arizona Senate Bill 1070. The measure would have required local police, while enforcing other laws, to question the immigration status of anyone they suspected of being undocumented. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit said the measure overstepped Arizona’s authority.
Before becoming a state senator in 2001, Pearce spent 23 years as a Maricopa County sheriff’s deputy. He is known for his tough stance against illegal immigration and continues to introduce such legislation.

Arizona Immigration Law SB 1070 Still in Legal Limbo

Today’s video from David Michael Cantor, a Phoenix DUI Defense Lawyer, is about the infamous Immigration Bill known as SB 1070. This bill was set to go into effect this month, April of 2011, but has been held up in Federal Court on Appeal after U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton halted key provisions of the bill in Nov 2010. At this time it is not clear when the Appeal will be heard and decided on leaving the controversial bill in limbo.

In April of 2010 Governor Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 into law and became an immediate lightning rod for the debate concerning Illegal Immigration. Many people felt that this law was unconstitutional as it required the police to ask for identification from anyone they suspected to be an illegal immigrant. The people who felt this way include the President of the United States, Brack Obama, and his administration filed a suit against the bill.

A new wrinkle in the debate is Arizona Senator Russel Pearce’s request to be added to the lawsuit so that he can make his voice heard. Pearce is the author of SB 1070 and feels he can best describe the bill’s intent. He cites a new Arizona law that was passed this year which would allow him to be added to this type of lawsuit. Others point out that this action would be unprecidented in legal history.

What do you think about SB 1070? Is it a good law? Should Russel Pearce be added to the lawsuit simply because the Arizona legislature passed a law saying its okay?

Here is more from the Arizona Republic:

The future of Arizona’s controversial Senate Bill 1070 will remain in limbo until the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issues a ruling, a federal judge decided Friday.

And there’s no telling when that will be.

The court heard arguments on Nov. 1 regarding U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton’s decision to halt most of the key provisions of SB 1070 from going into effect. The immigration bill was signed into law last April.

Bolton said Friday that she had been waiting to move forward with a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice, which challenges the law’s constitutionality, until there was a ruling on her injunction. It now has been five months, she said.

“I had anticipated that we would have had a decision. I was betting for February, and now, March has come and gone,” Bolton said, adding that she gets no advance notice on when a ruling might come.

Bolton said that she was reluctant to continue to wait but that she and attorneys representing the federal government on one side and the state and Gov. Jan Brewer on the other agreed that they couldn’t move forward with the underlying case until they had an appeals-court decision.

Bolton said once a ruling does come down, the two sides will have 30 days to let her know whether they will appeal again, which could take the case as high as the U.S. Supreme Court.

But there are some things that will happen while they continue to wait.

Bolton said they will move forward with a countersuit that Brewer filed in February alleging that the federal government has failed to secure the border.

Varu Chilakamarri of the Justice Department said it will file a motion to dismiss the countersuit within the next couple of weeks.

Bolton also will make a decision on a request by Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce, author of SB 1070, to join the lawsuit as a defendant. She had initially denied Pearce’s request, but the Legislature passed a measure earlier this year authorizing Pearce and Speaker of the House Kirk Adams to intervene on behalf of the Legislature.

Brewer supports Pearce’s request; the Justice Department opposes it. On Friday, Bolton heard arguments from all the involved parties.

Pearce said he needs a seat at the table because he can best explain the intent of the Legislature in writing and passing SB 1070.

“I think we would enhance the debate,” he said. “This impacts the entire nation, and we need to be at the table.”

Attorney Paul Orfanedes of Judicial Watch, a conservative non-profit, is representing Pearce at no cost to the state.

Orfanedes admitted to Bolton that it is unprecedented for a legislature to ask to join a lawsuit in which state or gubernatorial attorneys are already defending a state law. But, he said, passing a law saying that the state wants the legislature to be represented in such a case also has never happened.

“This is the Legislature’s baby,” he said. “It knows this very controversial legislation better than anybody else.”

Chilakamarri said it would be unwarranted and unprecedented for Bolton to allow Pearce to intervene just because the state passed a law saying he could.

Bolton said she will rule on the matter later. She said she is concerned that adding another party to the case would mean more lawyers, more documents filed and more time.

“You are really not offering me anything that says the interests of the state Legislature are not being adequately represented,” she told Orfanedes.

Read more:

Arizona Blocking Protesters? Sen Pearce Restricting Rights?

Arizona made the headlines again last week when Senate President Russell Pearce requested that Officers ban immigration activist Salvador Reza and Anayanse Garza. The protesters were apparently clapping and playing a drum, which are more disruptive than allowing people to carry firearms in the Capitol building (something Pearce is allowing). This lead to the Senator requesting the officers remove and ban individuals. David M Cantor, a Phoenix Criminal Attorney, delves further into the story to point out a few omissions by the Senator’s policy.

Here is the story from DailyKos:

At least the protesters in Wisconsin have access to the Capitol.

When Republican State Senator Carolyn Allen decided not to run for another term after serving in the legislature 16 years, she gave this as her reason:

“I do not want to live in the police state that Russell Pearce, Joe Arpaio and Andy Thomas are spearheading.” Arizona Republic

Thankfully, County Attorney Thomas is out of the picture and under a DOJ investigation, along with Sheriff Arpaio. That leaves Senate President Russell Pearce to carry their nativist water. He appears to be doing a good job, as Senator Olivia Cajero Bedford observed during a Senate hearing on Tuesday:

“And what I see happening is sort of a dictator Senate President.” New Times

Some thought Senator Allen’s comment last year a bit tin-foily, and Senator Beford was reprimanded by the Committee Chair for her “dictator” statement Tuesday. But let’s look at the evidence:

The first week of the 2011 legislative session, the newly installed Senate President Russell Pearce decreed that it was okay for anyone to carry a weapon into the Capitol and legislative chambers, even though some people wondered where that authority resided. Now he believes he should be able to decide who can visit the state grounds, and there’s talk in the media of Pearce’s Capitol blacklist.

Senator Pearce maintains there is no blacklist. That’s interesting, since Senator David Schapira Tweeted on Friday:

His claim that “there is no ‘blacklist'” is flatly untrue. He admitted to me yesterday that there is.

Yesterday, then, Pearce issued a press release, explaining that he banned some demonstrators from the Capitol at the request of Senator Krysten Sinema: “Sen. Sinema told Senate security she feared for her safety.” That’s also interesting, since Stephen Lemons from New Times spoke with Sinema:

Sinema tells me that’s untrue, that she never told anyone that she “feared for her safety” regarding the protest by radio show host Carlos Galindo and other activists of her press conference. Nor did she ask the Capitol Police to arrest anyone.

Finally, Pearce maintained he banned several individuals because “it is my duty to protect our Members, staff and visiting public.” He said some of the protesters this week were “clapping loudly and even banging a drum.” Got that? One of his first decisions as Senate President was to allow people to carry guns into the Capitol and the legislative chambers. Guns are okay, clapping no.

Who was banned from the Capitol and why?

Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce has always been a Looney Tune character, especially after 2004 when his son Sean was shot by a Mexican and dad went on his anti-immigrant bender (Sean thankfully recovered). So, he’s been tweeting his “invasion of the brown people” dog whistle for a long time, and we used to just think of him like a crazy old uncle who still uses the N-word and asks you to pull his finger. Just ignore the gross bigot.

Now, though, Pearce is not only Senate President but de facto Governor, so it’s no longer possible to ignore the most powerful and vicious politician in the state. Indeed, the vice grip his cruel wingnuttery has on the legislature was on display earlier this week when the Senate Appropriations Committee passed a long list of racist and inhumane laws. That meeting gave birth to the blacklist.

Civil rights activist Sal Reza has fought his share of battles in the state’s war on immigration, many of them with Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Reza, who is a member of the human rights group Puenta, has a wrongful-arrest lawsuit pending against Arpaio and his deputies for an incident that occurred last July during the protests that followed Governor Brewer’s signing of SB 1070. So in the eyes of Arpaio and Pearce, Sal is a “known troublemaker.”

Reza joined protestors at the explosive Appropriations Committee hearing on Tuesday. Hundreds of people filled three Senate Chambers and surrounded the building to protest the anti-immigration bills being considered — all of which passed. For some reason Reza, who watched the proceedings from a chamber on TV, was the one accused of being “disruptive” because the roomful of protestors would not stop applauding. And for that he landed on Pearce’s blacklist.

Democratic Senator Steve Gallardo said Pearce clearly “singl[ed] out Reza” because no one else was backlisted from the Capitol for excessive clapping. New Times’ Stephen Lemons points out the idiocy of Pearce’s selective enforcement:

Why had Reza been banned in the first place? [Capitol Police Officer] Abril writes, “On 2-22-11 Reza was advised by DPS security that he was not allowed in the Senate building because he was being disruptive. This trespass order [came] from the Senate President.”

Reza was present for Tuesday’s marathon Appropriations Committee hearing, along with numerous other activists, watching the proceedings on a TV set in an overflow room. How could Reza be disruptive as he sat in front of a Television? After all, the activists were not even allowed into the hearing room. I know because I was there.

Unbeknownst to him, Reza was persona non grata at the State Capitol, so when he and Anayanse Garza showed up Thursday at the Senate chambers for a meeting with Senator Gallardo,

Police arrested immigration activist Salvador Reza on suspicion of trespassing Thursday after he refused to leave the state Senate, and another activist could face assault charges stemming from a suspected shoving match with an officer. Arizona Republic

New Times was at the Capitol yesterday, when Reza and Garza held a press conference:

Both alleged abuse at the hands of DPS Officer J. Gentry Burton and DPS Sergeant Jeff Trap, who collared them after warning Reza to leave, supposedly because he had been “banned” on the orders of state Senate President Russell Pearce. Reza said he was thrown up against the glass window of the building’s lobby “like a common criminal.”

Garza claimed she was dragged by her hair during her arrests. Garza had not been “banned,” like Reza. “They used violence against me,” stated the soft-spoken, 33 year-old woman.

At the press conference Senator Gallardo asked,

“Where does [Pearce] have the authority to ban someone?” … He referred to the state Senate rule book, and indicated there was nothing granting Pearce such powers. “We call on Pearce to give us a list of everyone banned,” he stated. “We need to know who’s on that list and why.”

Meanwhile, while all this crap transpired this week, radio host Carlos Galinda sat outside the Capitol with a big sign in uppercase letters that read:


Remember them? I doubt if Pearce ever heard of them, except maybe that second one. A comment from Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox provided a fitting end to the press conference:

“We have to remind the [Arizona] Senate … that we’re still a part of the United States of America.”  

Last year, after the SB 1070 boycotts put a huge dent in Arizona’s vital tourism industry, the Governor appointed a commission to develop some image-saving strategies. At the time, one of their suggested slogans seemed laughable, especially if you were brown. Today it seems Kafkaesque:

Arizona — Experience the Freedom

Shifting the Blame: Shawna Forde and Illegal Immigration

Back in 2009 Shawna Forde and two others were arrested and charged with two counts each of first-degree murder and other charges. They were alleged to have dressed a law enforcement officers and breaking into a home resulting in a 9 year old and her father dead from gunshot wounds. On February 14th this year she was found guilty of the crime and a fwe days later received the death penalty. Today David M Cantor, a Phoenix Criminal Lawyer, discusses the crime and asks if there is something else we need to be looking at in ourselves.

Is the Illegal Immigration rhetoric really about low wage workers destabilizing our country? Or is it more about our own inability to face up to our own problems and deal with them instead? What do you think?

Here is an article from the Huffington Post:

PHOENIX — Two of three people arrested in a southern Arizona home invasion that left a little girl and her father dead had connections to a Washington state anti-illegal immigration group that conducts border watch activities in Arizona.

Jason Eugene Bush, 34, Shawna Forde, 41, and Albert Robert Gaxiola, 42, have been charged with two counts each of first-degree murder and other charges, said Sheriff Clarence Dupnik of Pima County, Ariz.

The trio are alleged to have dressed as law enforcement officers and forced their way into a home about 10 miles north of the Mexican border in rural Arivaca on May 30, wounding a woman and fatally shooting her husband and their 9-year-old daughter. Their motive was financial, Dupnik said.

“The husband who was murdered has a history of being involved in narcotics and there was an anticipation that there would be a considerable amount of cash at this location as well as the possibility of drugs,” Dupnik said.

Forde is the leader of Minutemen American Defense, a small border watch group, and Bush goes by the nickname “Gunny” and is its operations director, according to the group’s Web site. She is from Everett, Wash., has recently been living in Arizona and was once associated with the better known and larger Minuteman Civil Defense Corps.

A statement attributed to officers of Forde’s group and posted on its Web site on Saturday extended condolences to the victims’ families and said the group doesn’t condone such acts and will cooperate with law enforcement.

“This is not what Minutemen do,” said member Chuck Stonex, who responded to an e-mail from The Associated Press sent through the Web site. “Minutemen observe, document and report. This is nothing more than a cold-hearted criminal act, and that is all we want to say.”

The assailants planned to leave no one alive, Dupnik said at a press conference in Tucson on Friday. He said Forde was the ringleader.

“This was a planned home invasion where the plan was to kill all the people inside this trailer so there would be no witnesses,” Dupnik said. “To just kill a 9-year-old girl because she might be a potential witness to me is just one of the most despicable acts that I have heard of.”


Dupnik said Forde continued working through Friday to raise a large amount of money to make her anti-illegal immigrant operation more sophisticated.

Forde denied involvement as she was led from sheriff’s headquarters.

“No, I did not do it,” she said. “I had nothing to do with it.”

Gaxiola also denied involvement; Bush was arrested at a Kingman, Ariz., hospital where he was being treated for a leg wound he allegedly received when the woman who survived the attack managed to get a gun and fire back.

Killed were 9-year-old Brisenia Flores and her 29-year-old father, Raul Junior Flores. The name of the wounded woman who survived the attack hasn’t been released.

Forde is well known in the anti-illegal immigration community, said Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University-San Bernardino.

“She’s someone who even within the anti-immigration movement has been labeled as unstable,” Levin said. “She was basically forced out of another anti-immigrant group, the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, and then founded her own organization.”

Stonex, of Alamagordo, N.M., said he met Forde while on an Arizona border watch operation last fall, and liked her despite her reputation in the Minutemen community.

“I know she’s always had sort of a checkered past but I take people for what I see and not what I hear,” the 57-year-old said.

She recruited him to start a new chapter in New Mexico, but was secretive about her group or its members. Stonex said he didn’t know how to recruit for a chapter and never did.

He said Forde called him on the day of the attack while he was visiting Arizona and asked him to bring bandages to an Arivaca home because Bush had been wounded. Stonex said it appeared Bush had a relatively minor gunshot wound, which he treated.

He said Forde and Bush told him Bush been wounded by a smuggler who shot at him while the group were patrolling the desert.

Stonex said he didn’t suspect that might not be the case until was contacted by a deputy on Saturday about their alleged involvement in the crime.

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