I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

AZ Cities and Towns Sue the State's A**

That was deceptive and anti-democratic to slip these anti-immigration provisions into the budget bill. Shame on them all. They are starting to catch on, though, that the immigrants they should be worried about are the citizens moving here from other places in the country in time to VOTE! So, it is not enough to criminalize simply existing as an undocumented immigrant, they must now criminalize anything that a lefty sympathizer might do, like assisting a dying migrant found in the desert (Pearce is working on repealing Sanctuary Cities on the general ballot as a "citizen initiative"). 
Worse yet, a government employee can be charged for failing to report an illegal immigrant. Doe anyone know how many state workers that will affect, and what the scope of that is? Are homeless outreach workers supposed to start verifying citizenship now, before they can offer food or a blanket? Will a program for survivors of domestic violence turn undocumented women out into the cold - or over to ICE - once they finally place that call for help?

This is a real problem, folks, the mentality behind some of this legislation. And here the Governor and the bad boys of the Legislature are chastising cities for suing them for that end run they did around democracy. Note that it's not because the cities are taking an ethical position about the politics of immigration laws. Still, it's about time they did something.

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and top Republican legislators blasted Arizona municipalities for going to court to challenge the constitutionality of parts of a budget law, including provisions that deny government services and benefits to illegal immigrants.

The lawsuit filed by the League of Arizona Cites and Towns amounts to siding "with lawbreakers over lawkeepers," said Sen. Russell Pearce, a Mesa Republican who championed the provisions targeting illegal immigration.

Pearce appeared with Brewer, Senate President Bob Burns and House Speaker Kirk Adams at a news conference on Tuesday, one day after the league's lawsuit asked the Arizona Supreme Court to overturn multiple sections of the budget law, which lawmakers passed in August and Brewer signed Sept. 4.

The governor said it was "outrageous and shocking" that the league would challenge the budget law and its immigration provisions "at a time when Arizona is suffering from budget deficits of unprecedented proportions and the state is struggling to meet the basic needs of its citizens."

The illegal immigration section toughened existing prohibitions on providing services or benefits to illegal immigrants. It also makes it a misdemeanor for a state or local government employee to fail to report immigration law violations detected while administering a public benefit or service, and it allows anyone to sue the state or local governments to enforce the prohibitions.

League Executive Director Ken Strobeck said later that the league's concern with the immigration sections stems from the possibility of municipal employees being sued or criminally charged.

"We're not talking at all about the provision of benefits to people that are in the country illegally," he said. "That is something that people in cities and towns do not do."

The league's lawsuit said the challenged provisions were enacted unconstitutionally because they fell outside budget-related topics listed by Brewer when she called lawmakers into special session and because unrelated legislation was packaged in one bill.

Besides the immigration provisions, the league also is challenging sections concerning building codes, impact fees and construction contract taxes.

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