The sponsor of Arizona's controversial immigration law has found himself barred from Mexican restaurants as he attempts a political comeback.
Former state Senate President Russell Pearce, who was recalled by voters in November, was blocked from hosting a fundraiser for his current Senate campaign at two Mexican restaurants and a school in Phoenix last week, the Arizona Capitol Times reported.
The two restaurants canceled the events after being contacted by a Pearce opponent -- with one saying it was due to his sponsoring of SB 1070, the state's immigration law that is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. Pearce is running against developer Bob Worsley in a Republican primary for another Senate seat.
From the Arizona Capitol Times:
The fundraiser was originally scheduled to be held at Macayo’s Restaurant near Central Avenue and Indian School Road in uptown Phoenix. However, DeeDee Garcia Blase, a critic of Pearce and the co-president of the Tequila Party, organized a protest of the restaurant this afternoon during the event.
She said that the planned protest and her calls to Macayo’s corporate offices led the restaurant to cancel the event.
A spokeswoman from Macayo’s said in a written statement the event was canceled “due to a larger crowd than expected.” She did not respond to follow-up questions about allegations from Pearce and his surrogates that Garcia Blase’s supporters threatened the restaurant with violence.
Late this morning, Pearce’s campaign sent an email to supporters informing them that the fundraiser would instead be held at Oaxaca Restaurante y Cantina in downtown Phoenix. The email did not say why the location was changed.
Within hours, Oaxaca also cancelled Pearce’s event.
The high school canceled, saying that they could not hold the fundraiser on short notice, the Capitol Times reported. Pearce released a statement to the newspaper saying that his opponents are "motivated by hatred" and that he will continue with his campaign. The Capitol Times reported that Pearce said that fundraiser opponents threatened violence at the event.
Pearce became the first state legislative presiding officer in American history to be recalled from office, during a November race that centered on his authorship of the immigration law. At the time, Pearce had made headlines for his largely conservative leadership of the Arizona Senate, including leading the chamber to confirm Gov. Jan Brewer's (R) firing of the state redistricting commission chairwoman, a move the state Supreme Court later overturned.
Pearce made a political comeback in January, winning election to the number two post in the state Republican Party, and is seeking the newly created Senate seat. In January, Pearce was named president of Stop Amnesty Now.
Last week, Worsley won the backing of the state Chamber of Commerce and several elected officials in Mesa in his campaign against Pearce.
Below, the nation's harshest immigration legislation:
California's Proposition 187 was submitted to the voters with the full support of then Republican governor Pete Wilson. It essentially blamed undocumented immigrants for the poor performance of the state economy in the early 1990s. The law called for cutting off benefits to undocumented immigrants: prohibiting their access to health care, public education, and other social services in California. It also required state authorities to report anyone who they suspected was undocumented. Status: The law passed with the support of 55 percent of the voters in 1994 but declared unconstitutional 1997. The law was killed in 1999 when a new governor, Democrat Gray Davis, refused to appeal a judicial decision that struck down most of the law. Even though short-lived, the legislation paved the way for harsher immigration laws to come. On the other hand, the strong reaction from the Hispanic community and immigration advocates propelled a drive for naturalization of legal residents and created as many as one million new voters.
The Arizona Act made it a misdemeanor for an undocumented immigrant to be within the state lines of Arizona without legal documents allowing their presence in the U.S. This law has been widely criticized as xenophobic and for encouraging racial profiling. It requires state authorities to inquire about an individual's immigration status during an arrest when there is "reasonable suspicion" that the individual is undocumented. The law would allow police to detain anyone who they believe was in the country illegally. Status: The law was signed into law by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on April 23, 2010. But it has generated a swirl of controversy and questions about its constitutionality. A federal judge issued a ruling that blocked what critics saw as some of the law's harshest provisions. House: 35-31 (4/12/2011)
The controversy over Arizona's immigration law was followed by heated debate over Georgia's own law. HB 87 required government agencies and private companies to check the immigration status of applicants. This law also limited some government benefits to people who could prove their legal status. Status: Although a federal judge temporarily blocked parts of the law considered too extreme, it went into effect on July 1st. 2011. House: 113-56 Senate: 39-17
This bill, which was approved in 2010, bans contractors and subcontractors employ undocumented workers from having state construction contracts. The bill also protects employees who report construction sites that hire illegal workers. To ensure that contractors hire legal workers, the law requires employers to use the identification verification system E-verify, based on a compilation of legally issued Social Security numbers. Status: Approved on June 8th 2010. House: 188-6 (07/08/2010) Flickr photo by DonkeyHotey
Many states tried to emulate Arizona's SB 1070 law. However, most state legislatures voted against the proposals. Utah's legislature managed to approve an immigration law based on a different argument. Taking into consideration the criticism of racial profiling in Arizona, Utah required ID cards for "guest workers" and their families. In order to get such a card workers must pay a fee and have clean records. The fees go up to $2,500 for immigrants who entered the country illegally and $1,000 for immigrants who entered the country legally but were not complying with federal immigration law, according to the LA Times. Status: Law went into effect on 03/15/2011 House: 59-15 (03/04/2011) Senate: 22-5 (03/04/2011)
Florida's immigration law prohibits any restrictions on the enforcement of federal immigration law. It makes it unlawful for undocumented immigrants within the state to apply for work or work as an independent contractor. It forbids employers from hiring immigrants if they are aware of their illegal status and requires work applicants to go through the E-verify system in order to check their Social Security number. Status: effective since October 1st, 2010
The new immigration law in Alabama is considered the toughest in the land, even harder than Arizona's SB 1070. It prohibits law enforcement officers from releasing an arrested person before his or her immigration status is determined. It does not allow undocumented immigrants to receive any state benefit, and prohibits them from enrolling in public colleges, applying for work or soliciting work in a public space. The law also prohibits landlords from renting property to undocumented immigrants, and employers from hiring them. It requires residents to prove they are citizens before they become eligible to vote. The law asked every school in the state to submit an annual report with the number of presumed undocumented students, but this part, along with others, were suspended by federal courts. Status: Approved June 2nd, 2011 House: 73-28 (04/05/2011) Senate: 23-11 (05/05/2011) Flickr photo by longislandwins