Emails Show Racist Motivation Behind Arizona Immigration Law

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Common Dreams

Emails Show Racist Motivation Behind Arizona Immigration Law

by
Common Dreams staff

Protestors gather around Arizona State Sen. Russell Pearce, Arizona's immigration bill SB1070 author, outside the Sandra Day O'Connor Federal Courthouse in Phoenix, Feb 2011. (Photo AP/Matt York)

The American Civil Liberties Union has released thousands of emails from a former Arizona legislator which they say prove that the controversial Arizona immigration law SB1070 was racially motivated. The slew of emails sent or forwarded from former Senator Russell Pearce (R), architect of the law, promoted discrimination and racial prejudice and lied about immigration issues, ACLU contends.

The e-mails were acquired through a public records request to the state legislature. The ACLU included many of the emails in a legal filing on Thursday, asking U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton to prevent the 'show me your papers' section of the law, slated to go into effect.

The e-mails uncovered from Pearce included racial bias and offensive language. Some quotes released to the Arizona Republic include:

"Can we maintain our social fabric as a nation with Spanish fighting English for dominance ... It's like importing leper colonies and hope we don't catch leprosy. It's like importing thousands of Islamic jihadists and hope they adapt to the American Dream."

"Last week, Denver's illegal aliens sang our national anthem in Spanish and bastardized the words of OUR country's most sacred song."

"Corruption is the mechanism by which Mexico operates. Its people spawn more corruption wherever they go because it is their only known way of life."

"I'm racist because I don't want to be taxed to pay for a prison population comprised of mainly Hispanics, Latinos, Mexicans or whatever else you wish to call them."

On Friday, Pearce denied that he was racist or that the emails show discriminatory intent.

The section of the new Arizona law in question, the "show me your papers" provision, requires police to check the immigration status of people they have stopped if the person appears to be an immigrant. The section was upheld in the Supreme Court last month.

ACLU argues that the law should be blocked because Latinos in Arizona will face legalized racial profiling and discrimination.

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