American Scene


Lawsuits challenge new immigration law

PHOENIX — Anger mounted Thursday over an Arizona law cracking down on illegal immigration as a police officer filed one of the first lawsuits challenging the law and activists gathered outside an Arizona Diamondbacks game at Wrigley Field in Chicago, chanting “Boycott Arizona.”

The lawsuit from 15-year Tucson police veteran Martin Escobar is one of two filed Thursday, less than a week after Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, signed the legislation, which has sparked fears it will lead to racial profiling despite the governor’s vow that officers will be properly trained.

U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has said the federal government may challenge the law, which 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 U.S. illegally.

The National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders also filed a lawsuit Thursday and is seeking an injunction preventing authorities from enforcing the law. The group argues that federal law pre-empts state regulation of national borders and that Arizona’s law violates due-process rights by letting police detain suspected illegal immigrants before they’re convicted.

At least three Arizona cities — Phoenix, Flagstaff and Tucson — are considering legal action to block the law.

In Chicago, about 40 immigrant rights activists gathered outside Wrigley Field Thursday as the Cubs opened a four-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. A small plane toting a banner criticizing the law circled the stadium.


Governor backs health overhaul

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is pledging California’s full support for national health care reform, throwing the weight of one of the nation’s most prominent Republican voices behind the overhaul.

Mr. Schwarzenegger said he has long supported the concept of universal health coverage and it’s time to set politics aside and start implementing the legislation, signed earlier this year.

If reform is to succeed, he said, it is up to the states to make it happen.

Mr. Schwarzenegger’s comments mark a change in tone. Earlier, he criticized a Senate version of the national bill that gave Nebraska more Medicaid money than other states, calling it a “rip-off.”


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