Lawyers with the ACLU are mounting a legal challenge to surviving parts of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer‘s landmark 2010 immigration law, which is considered to be a huge crackdown on illegal immigration, and have subpoenaed all documents used by Brewer to write her 2011 book “Scorpions for Breakfast: My Fight Against Special Interests, Liberal Media, and Cynical Politicos to Secure America’s Border.”
They’re especially interested in SB1070, which requires police to question people’s immigration status if they’re suspected of being in the U.S. illegally. The legal team is hoping to find documents to reinforce their claim that the law was passed with discriminatory intent.
The Supreme Court upheld the law’s controversial requirement that law enforcement must question people’s immigration status if they are suspected of being in the country illegally – a requirement which was constrained by the words “while enforcing other laws.”
But the court threw out many other sections of the law including a requirement that immigrants carry registration papers.
ACLU attorney Justin Cox, a member of the team challenging the law, claims the content of Brewers documents may provide valuable insight into the passage of the law:
“What was she told, what role did her office have, and what was her understanding of what SB1070 would do?” Cox asked.
Cox said the subpoena for Brewer’s book-related documents was issued after she declined to provide them through a records request. Brewer’s attorneys argued she was only involved in her official capacity but the records the ACLU asked for were of a personal nature.
The subpoena is one of several issued by the ACLU as they seek emails, letters and memos between lawmakers and advocates for tighter immigration enforcement. The Legislature’s chief advocate for the immigration law, former state Senator Russell Pearce, was ordered in September to turn over his emails and documents pertaining to the law.
The law elevated Brewer to the national political stage and much of her book is devoted to defending the immigration bill she signed into law. In the book she claims she knew early on that Arizona would face a public outcry and allegations of racism in response to the tough measures and says her administration responded by making important changes to minimize the concerns.
The Republican Governor wrote that the immigration crisis had intensified as Arizona became a “gateway for drug and immigrant smuggling.”
Momentum for her immigration law grew when an Arizona rancher was shot and killed 20 miles from the U.S. / Mexico border in the Spring on 2010.
From the Back Cover
Sometime after dark on March 27, 2010, Arizona rancher Robert Krentz was found dead next to his four-wheeler on the grounds of his ranch on the Arizona-Mexico border. Krentz and his dog, Blue, had been missing since that morning. They were last heard from when he radioed his brother to say that he’d found an illegal alien on the property and was going to offer him assistance. The man Krentz encountered that day shot and killed him and his dog, without warning, before escaping to Mexico.
It’s difficult to overstate the impact of Krentz’s death, which turned the issue of Arizona’s unsecured border—a crisis that the federal government had repeatedly ignored—into a national concern. As Arizona sheriff Larry Dever said in his testimony before the Senate Homeland Security Committee, “We cannot sit by while our citizens are terrorized, robbed, and murdered by ruthless and desperate people who enter our country illegally.” This momentum helped pass SB 1070, a bill that authorizes local law enforcement under certain conditions to question persons reasonably suspected of being illegal aliens, which Governor Jan Brewer and the state legislature had been working on for months. With the passage of this controversial bill, the state of Arizona became ground zero in the impassioned debate over illegal immigration. The Democrats and the media went into overdrive, denouncing the state and its governor as racists and Nazis.
Governor Brewer, a lifelong Arizona resident with deep ties to the community, was first elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 1982, and hasn’t lost an election since. As a state official, she watched with increasing dismay as illegal immigration exploded across Arizona’s border, and noticed the devastating effect it was having on the state. Causing an escalation in violence, an influx of drugs, and prisons and hospitals to fill to overflowing, this problem was not only wreaking havoc on the moral fabric of the community but placing an even greater strain on Arizona’s beleaguered health, educational, and social welfare networks. Growing frustrated with the failure of the federal government to respond to her pleas for assistance, Governor Brewer led the state to action. Scorpions for Breakfast is Brewer’s commonsense account of her fight to secure our nation’s border in the face of persistent federal inaction. Her book is vital reading for all Americans interested in the real change that can happen when local leaders take the initiative to preserve our country and our laws.