SB 1070 support geographically diverse

Discussion in 'Immigration/Illegal Immigration' started by Angelhair, Nov 4, 2011.

  1. Angelhair

    Angelhair Senior Member

    Aug 22, 2009
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    WASHINGTON - When Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer asked private donors last year to help pay legal fees to defend the state and its controversial SB 1070 immigration law against lawsuits, thousands of Arizonans responded.

    And so did thousands of people from other states. And other territories and other countries.

    Donations to the fund, which totaled $3.8 million as of Sept. 1, have come from all 50 states in the nation, several territories, the District of Columbia and countries as far-flung as Canada, Costa Rica and Micronesia.

    Those donations have swamped the contributions from Arizonans, who make up about 15 percent of the 45,402 donors and about 10 percent of the total donations.

    Supporters of the law say the broad reach of the donations is proof of the popularity of SB 1070.

    "The geographic diversity of donors to the (fund) is a point of pride for the governor," said Matthew Benson, a spokesman for Brewer, in an email. "People from all over the country have not only sided with Arizona on SB 1070, they've put their money where their mouth is."

    But critics said the "geographic diversity" of donors just shows that the law is not supported back home in Arizona.

    "I've always believed that outside sources were going to fuel these anti-immigrant laws," said Dee Dee Garcia Blase, founder of Somos Republicans, an Arizona-based conservative Hispanic organization.

    "It's outside influences that are controlling these laws," Blase said.

    She pointed to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who wrote both Arizona's and Alabama's immigration law, as an outsider promoting anti-immigrant sentiment in the state.

    Among other controversial measures in SB 1070, which passed last year, the law originally let police officers ask suspects for their immigration status if there was reason to believe they were in the country illegally. Opponents said this would have let law enforcement engage in racial profiling.

    A federal judge blocked parts of the law, and that decision was upheld in April by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Brewer has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the high court has not yet said whether it will hear the case.

    In the meantime, contributions have continued to come in to the legal defense fund. Of the $3.8 million raised as of Sept. 1, Benson said about $2.06 million had been spent on legal fees.

    Benson said the governor's office has a website for the fund but has not otherwise advertised it. But the money has rolled in.

    The largest donations came last year, and most of those came from outside Arizona. Wyoming resident Timothy Mellon, who owns a railroad and other business interests, wired more than $1.5 million to the fund in 2010, the largest single donation.

    The largest single in-state contribution came from a Joseph Van de Loo, who was listed as giving $10,000. The fund information provided by Brewer's office gave no other information than the donor's name, home state, donation amount and date.

    On StarNet: Find extensive coverage of immigration issues at

    At a glance

    The top 10 states for donations to Gov. Jan Brewer's SB 1070 legal defense fund, Keep AZ Safe:

    • Wyoming: $1.55 million (includes single $1.5 million Timothy Mellon donation)

    • Arizona: $379,528

    • California: $328,841

    • Texas: $202,888

    • Pennsylvania: $126,867

    • Florida: $118,439

    • New York: $65,396

    • Washington: $60,679

    • Virginia: $53,167

    • Illinois: $52,525

    Source: Cronkite News Service

    SB 1070 support geographically diverse

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