Ariz. governor considers changing immigration law
PHOENIX (AP) – Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is asking legislators to consider whether they should change the state’s immigration law in the wake of a judge’s ruling blocking enforcement of parts of it.
Brewer spokesman Paul Senseman confirmed Friday that the governor called top legislative leaders to broach the possibility of changing provisions of the law on Thursday, a day after U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton issued a preliminary injunction putting on hold parts of the new law that would have required officers to dig deeper into the fight against illegal immigration.
Senseman said the possibility of having legislators meet in special session to consider changing the law is merely being explored. He said Brewer is still pressing ahead with her appeal of Bolton’s order.
“The governor believes that the law is constitutional and she is obviously going to pursue the appeal,” Senseman said. “What she is looking at are legislative improvements that can be made … given the current ruling for an injunction.”
“It’s very preliminary,” he said. “There is no specific language or proposal.”
Senate President Bob Burns, R-Peoria, said he’d need to know a lot more “of the political and legal ramifications” before he supports holding a special session.
“Benefit has to outweigh risk,” he said, adding that he suggested to Brewer that staff attorneys and other aides begin exploring the possibility of making changes.
The Legislature’s next regular session starts in January.
Even though the law’s critics scored a huge victory with the decision, passions among hundreds of immigrant rights supporters flared at demonstrations near the federal courthouse in downtown Phoenix after the law took effect Thursday.
Protesters blocked the entrance to a jail run by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has taken an aggressively stance toward immigration enforcement. Sheriff’s deputies in riot gear opened the large steel doors leading to the building and hauled off those who didn’t move. In all, police working the daylong protest arrested 71 people, including 23 for blocking the jail.
In total, 71 people were arrested during the Thursday protests, officials said Friday.
Brewer’s lawyers already have appealed the judge’s ruling so they can fight back against what the Republican calls an “invasion” of illegal immigrants. The state of Arizona has received more than $1.6 million in a fund to help defend the new law, including $75,000 on Wednesday, the day parts of the law were blocked.
Brewer said Friday she would “absolutely” take the judge’s decision all the way to the Supreme Court. But she dodged reporters’ other questions about the immigration law at a news conference with U.S. Sen. John McCain about a decision to base new combat jets at Luke Air Force Base in Glendale.
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