Arizona Immigration Law Repeal (2010)

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An Arizona Immigration Law Repeal did not appear on the November 2, 2010 ballot in the state of Arizona as a veto referendum. Two referenda were in response to the law that was signed on April 23, 2010 by Governor of Arizona Jan Brewer that made illegal immigration a crime in Arizona and mandated that state and local police question a person's immigration status if there were any suspicions that they were illegal immigrants. Efforts to place the measures on the ballot ceased on May 10, 2010 by organizers.

However, five other initiatives had been filed. Some initiatives were filed more than once, which led by the total number of five. One was filed by Catholic Priest Rev. John Arthur, who stated his initiative was a grassroots effort. According to reports, the measure was called Compassion For All.[1][2][3]

Two other initiatives that were filed were being spearheaded by Green Party gubernatorial candidate Larry Gist, whose campaign was called Let the People Decide. The final initiative that had been filed was being led by a group called IMAZ, which stands for I'm Arizona. All the initiative efforts failed to collect the required number of signatures by the July 28, 2010 deadline.[4][5]


One previous effort was being spearheaded by Jon Garrido, who runs a Hispanic website and was a former candidate for the Phoenix City Council. Garrido stated that he had filed papers for the petition drive to place the measure on the ballot. The law that Garrido was proposing to repeal was scheduled to take effect in July or August 2010, but would have not taken effect until a vote was taken on the proposed referendum, if it was placed on the ballot in November. However, Garrido stated that he stopped efforts for his petition drive, believing that the law would have been protected by the Arizona Constitution even if the referendum was approved by voters.

The other previous separate referendum effort was led by Andrew Chavez, who runs a petition circulation firm. Chavez stated that he had begun the initiative on behalf the One Arizona organization, and filed paperwork with the Secretary of State's office on April 28, 2010 in order to begin the referendum process. Chavez stated, however, that the efforts of his firm stopped because they thought a referendum on the 2010 ballot would not give organizers enough time to launch a successful campaign to sway voters.[6][7][8]



  • Susan Vie, who immigrated from Argentina and became a naturalized citizen, was a part of the initiative campaign to get the repeal on the ballot. Vie stated that there was racism behind the immigration bill, stating, "I see a lot of hate and racism behind it. Consequently, I believe it will create — and it's creating it now — a separation in our society. When people look at me, they will think, 'Is she legal or illegal?' I can already feel it right now."[9]
  • A month ahead of the implementation of the immigration law, the state saw immigrants flock back across the border, leaving local businesses hurting financially. Some store owners, such as Kim Nuu, must shut down their stores due to their lack of customers, who were mainly Latino immigrants. Nuu stated her store could not meet rent and would have to close the store in December 2010.[10]
  • Luis Sanchez, an immigrant with an illegal status, stated that him and his peers were doing jobs that no one wants to do. According to Sanchez, "This work doesn't pay very well, and it's very hard work. This is the kind of work that almost all the undocumented do because no one else wants to do it. They say that we are taking away jobs, but it's a lie. These jobs doing yard work - no one wants to do them."[10]


Campaigning, rallies and events

On June 18, 2010, Senator Russell Pearce received 126,101 petition signatures stating support for the newly signed Immigration Law. The petition signatures were collected on an online form by Grassfire Nation, which was a website that gathers signatures on multiple political topics.

According to Darla Dawald, the national director of Grassfire Nation's social network,, "We did this to make sure that those individuals who couldn't come here personally still had their voice heard." The petition itself stated, in part, that signers were opposed to "efforts to frame the immigration issue in terms of 'race' and 'hate' as a way to score political points and advance an amnesty agenda."[11]


  • In a commentary article published by The East Valley Tribune, Michael Weinstein, a local radio host wrote that the immigration law was not anti-Mexican, but simply about the issue of illegal immigration. Weinstein stated, "The problem with 1070 is that it makes Arizonans appear to be anti-Mexican. America is left with the impression that 1070 is specifically designed to get rid of all Mexicans, legal or illegal, from our great state. The truth of the matter is that 1070 is far from being anti-Mexican. The new law clearly mirrors federal law pertaining to illegal immigrants from any nation."[12]

Path to the ballot

Because the measure was a veto referendum, the petition effort must have gathered 76,682 signatures from registered voters in the state by 90 days after legislative session ended. That deadline ended up being July 28, 2010.[13]

There were rumblings in the state, that if one of the referendum efforts turned in their petition signatures after the July 1, 2010 petition drive deadline, the initiative would have been placed on the 2012 ballot, and may have pushed the law back until then. Matt Benson, spokesperson for the Arizona Secretary of State's office, stated that the measure would not have totally been guaranteed a spot on the November 2, 2010 ballot if turned in after that date. However, this was not a certainty, according to the Secretary of State's office.[7]

See also

Related measures

External links