Skip to comments.Referendum could delay AZ immigration law to 2012
Posted on 04/29/2010 2:59:50 AM PDT by ketelone
Challenges to Arizona's tough new law targeting illegal immigration have started to emerge, with a Latino clergy group planning to file the first lawsuit seeking to halt enforcement of the crackdown and others aiming to block the law at the ballot box.
The National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders says it will file suit Thursday in Phoenix federal court, the first of several lawsuits expected in coming months.
A draft of the complaint obtained by The Associated Press shows the coalition will seek an injunction preventing authorities from enforcing the law. The group argues federal law pre-empts state regulation of national borders, and that Arizona's law violates due-process rights by allowing suspected illegal immigrants to be detained before they're convicted.
Other Hispanic and civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, are also planning lawsuits. And U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has said the federal government may challenge the law.
On Wednesday, a group filed papers to launch a referendum drive that could put the law on hold until 2012 if organizers wait until the last minute to turn in petition signatures needed to get the measure on the ballot.
Opponents of the law have until late July or early August to file the more than 76,000 signatures _ the same time the law is set to go into effect. If they get enough signatures, the law would be delayed until a vote.
But the deadline to put a question on the November ballot is July 1, and a referendum filing later than that could delay a vote on the law until 2012, officials with the Secretary of State's Office said.
"That would be a pretty big advantage" to the law's opponents, said Andrew Chavez, head of a Phoenix-based petition-circulating firm and chairman of the One Arizona referendum campaign.
The legislation's chief sponsor, Republican Rep. Russell Pearce, said he has no doubt voters will support the new law at the ballot box, which would then protect it from repeal by the Legislature. In Arizona, measures approved by voters can only be repealed at the ballot box.
The law, which thrust Arizona into the national spotlight since Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed it last week, requires local and state law enforcement to question people about their immigration status if there's reason to suspect they're in the country illegally, and makes it a state crime to be in the United States illegally.
The clergy group's lawsuit targets a provision allowing police to arrest illegal-immigrant day laborers seeking work on the street or anyone trying to hire them, according to the draft. It says the solicitation of work is protected by the First Amendment.
State Rep. Ben Miranda, a Phoenix Democrat who will serve as the local attorney on the case, said it was important to file the suit quickly to show local Latinos and the rest of the country that there's still a chance the law won't be enacted.
"I think there's real damage being caused right now," Miranda said. "How do you measure the kind of fear ... going on in many parts of this community?"
At least three Arizona cities also are considering lawsuits to block the law. Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon said the measure would be "economically devastating," and called on the City Council to sue the state to stop it from taking effect.
The council rejected that idea Tuesday, yet the mayor told reporters he retained legal counsel to prepare a lawsuit to file on behalf of the city.
Tucson leaders also are considering their options to block the law, and Flagstaff City Councilman Rick Swanson said the city had a duty to protect its residents who might be targeted.
Meanwhile, the effect of the law continued to ripple beyond Arizona.
A Republican Texas lawmaker said she'll introduce a measure similar to the Arizona law next year. Texas Rep. Debbie Riddle of Tomball said she will push for the law in the January legislative session, according to Wednesday's editions of the San Antonio Express-News and Houston Chronicle.
And Republicans running for governor in Colorado and Minnesota expressed support for the crackdown. "I'd do something very similar" if elected," Former Rep. Scott McInnis, told KHOW-AM radio in Denver.
“allowing suspected illegal immigrants to be detained before they’re convicted”
I agree with the above post. That is just laughable.
If they only need $76,000 statewide, that will happen. Out of state money will fund the drive. We’re in for a long court battle and the feds will help the illegals side.
We have allowed it mainly because a large portion of the people who vote for Rats have no idea about how the Rat Party has been taken over by socialists who see themselves as elite and enlightened and the rest of us as stupid cattle to be penned up, used and slaughtered at their will.
RINOs against the law:
Crist (he did not say but he is a RINO)
IIRC, tax-exempt organizations can advocate all they want on issues, just can't get into endorsing or opposing candidates.
The VAT if enacted will be an economic disaster too, while you’re collecting econonic disasters, here’s one more you can hope for Ariz.
sorry, meant 76,000 signatures