Arizona Activists Fight Anti-Immigrant Climate

Fox News Latino, December 30, 2010

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A new group of activists intends to combat the sentiment in Arizona given the fear that in 2011 it will increase with bills like the ones being prepared by Republican state lawmaker Russell Pearce.

“We’re a group of citizens concerned about the stance that Pearce could take starting in January now that he’s the leader of the majority in the state senate,” Randy Parraz, the organizer for Citizens for a Better Arizona, told Efe on Wednesday.

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Pearce, 63, has been the driving force behind several of the harshest state laws against illegal immigration.

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Pearce also has been the main impetus behind several state laws like the one that prohibits granting driver’s licenses to people who do not have a Social Security Number and another that denies public assistance to undocumented people along with the right to bail when arrested, among others.

The lawmaker said that as soon as the next legislative session begins in January he will present a state bill that seeks to reform the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which grants U.S. citizenship to any person born in U.S. territory without regard to the immigration status of his or her parents.

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“We’re very concerned that this person (Pearce) does not have the ability to represent the values and the ideals that are best for Arizona,” said Parraz, who also is organizing a second group named the East Valley Patriots for American Values, which will monitor the actions undertaken by Pearce, in particular, within the district he represents in Mesa.

Parraz is organizing an event on January 10 at the state capitol, where it is expected that more than 200 people will gather to present a document to Pearce in which they express their concern over his actions.

The activist, who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination to challenge Sen. John McCain, said that if Pearce keeps his word and continues pushing anti-immigrant bills they are ready to begin a campaign to collect signatures to recall him.

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