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She said she vetoed similar measures when she served as Arizona governor from 2003 to 2009.
On Sunday, she called the Arizona law “really a cry of frustration,” while noting that “more assets have been put into Arizona in the last 15 months than ever in history.”
“But, you know what, there’s still a frustration out there. It’s a frustration ultimately that will only be solved with comprehensive immigration reform,” she said on ABC’s “This Week.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) also are preparing legal challenges.
During a Phoenix news conference last week, MALDEF President and General Counsel Thomas A. Saenz said “a vigorous and sophisticated legal challenge will be mounted” before the bill’s implementation this summer “to prevent this unconstitutional and discriminatory law from ever taking effect.”
Linton Joaquin, NILC’s general counsel, added that the Arizona law “sends a strong message to all immigrants to have no contact with any law enforcement officer.” He said the “inevitable result” would not only be to make immigrants more vulnerable to crime and exploitation, “but also to make the entire community less safe by aggressively discouraging witnesses and victims from reporting crimes.”
The Rev. Eve Nunez of the Arizona Latino Commission and National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference said the Arizona law will be divisive and demonstrates the need for Congress to pass an immigration reform bill.
“A lot of pastors are very fearful they will be fined for transporting members of their congregation in their church vans. Churches are already losing members,” she said. “There is great fear in the Hispanic community. It is very sad that in a state that should be welcoming the stranger, we are allowing oppressive laws to pass.”
Mr. King defended the bill, saying Arizona and other states are being forced to “step up and fill the void” left by the failure of the Obama administration and Homeland Security Department to secure the nation’s borders.
“I commend Arizona for standing up for the rule of law,” he said.
Mr. King also noted that critics of the law have distorted what it says. He said the law allows state authorities to inquire into the immigration status based only on a “reasonable suspicion” that the person is unlawfully present in the United States.
As a state senator in Iowa, he was the principal sponsor of a workplace drug and alcohol testing bill in 1998 that also relied on “reasonable suspicion.” That bill allowed the taking of urine or other samples from employees for whom there was a reasonable suspicion that they were under the influence.
“That bill passed into law in 1998 and there has not been a constitutional challenge to it yet,” Mr. King said.
Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce, the bill’s author, said a constitutional challenge would “determine whether our nation enforces its immigration laws and secures its borders or becomes victim to its enemies.”
About the Author
Jerry Seper is the investigative editor for The Washington Times.
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