From USA TODAY:
Arizona‘s controversial immigration enforcement law was the target of fresh attacks Sunday as opponents, from national civil rights activists to Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, vowed to take their fight to the courts as soon as this week.
Gordon, a Democrat, joined some federal lawmakers, including Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., and about 3,500 protesters Sunday at the Arizona Capitol, assailing the measure signed Friday by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer as a “racist and unjust” attempt at achieving an overhaul of the USA’s immigration policies.
Joe Arpaio, the vocal Republican sheriff of metro Phoenix’s Maricopa County who urged passage of the law, said the measure provides another tool for officers to counter persistent illegal immigration.
Arpaio, whose department’s tactics already are the subject of a Justice Department investigation of allegations of racial profiling in past immigration enforcement actions, said he intends to enforce the new law.
“I will not back down,” said Arpaio who is considering a run for governor. “We’ve got plenty of room (at the jail). I’ll make room, if I have to.”
In New York, civil rights activist Al Sharpton and Lillian Rodríguez López, president of the Hispanic Federation, announced they would go to federal court this week to challenge the law, which Sharpton said effectively “sanctions” racial profiling.
The most divisive aspect of the law, which takes effect 90 days after the current state Legislature adjourns, requires local law enforcement officials to “determine the immigration status of a person during any legitimate contact made by an official or agency of the state … if reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the U.S.”
Acknowledging the contentious nature of her decision, Brewer said she “prayed for strength and prayed for our state” and concluded that the law “represents what’s best for Arizona.”
The new Arizona law has been particularly contentious within the national and local law enforcement community.
San Jose Police Chief Robert Davis, president of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, said the group stands by its 2006 policy that “immigration enforcement by local police would likely negatively effect and undermine the level of trust and cooperation between local police and immigrant communities.”
Sen. John McCain was in Tucson Saturday as part of a round of town halls in southern Arizona. The Republican is campaigning for re-election to the U.S. Senate.
The question on many peoples’ minds was: “What does the senator think about Arizona’s new immigration law?
McCain’s message to the Obama administration and Homeland security chief Janet Napolitano – Arizona’s former governor – was: get the border secured.
Speaking at a town hall at Pima Community College’s east campus, McCain defended Gov. Jan Brewer’s decision to sign Senate Bill 1070 into law Friday. But he would not say if he supports the law as written.
“That’s a state decision. I have not had a chance to take a look, but the fact is the state is acting because the federal government hasn’t,” McCain said.
McCain had his own 10-point plan to boost border security. He crafted the plan with fellow Republican Sen. Jon Kyl.
“Basically, we’ve got to get 3,000 troops to the border and hire 3,0000 more,” McCain said.
McCain’s biggest opponent in the race for re-election is fellow Republican J.D. Hayworth. Hayworth is openly defending the Arizona immigration bill.