Two petition challenges to immigration law called off


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Aug 22, 2009
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PHOENIX - Backers of two petition drives to block Arizona's wide-ranging new immigration law have dropped efforts to put the issue on the ballot.

That means the only thing standing in the way of the law's taking effect is a federal judge. Multiple lawsuits already have been filed or threatened, including one authorized by the Tucson City Council, and the Obama administration is reviewing the law.

Andrew Chavez, a paid petition-drive organizer, said his client, whom he never identified, now believes it will not be possible to hold off enactment of the law until the 2012 election. Chavez said putting the issue before voters this year would not provide enough time to mount a successful campaign to persuade voters to overturn what lawmakers have approved.

Jon Garrido, the organizer of the other petition drive, said his concern is what happens if voters like the law.

At this point, he noted, a future Legislature could overturn SB 1070 - assuming enough of the measure's supporters were defeated.

But Garrido pointed out a provision in the Arizona Constitution that says once any law is approved by voters, lawmakers are powerless to alter it. That would make taking the question back to voters at a future election the only way of getting rid of it.

What that leaves are at least four separate lawsuits, with prospects for a fifth, each challenging the legality of the measure, which is set to take effect on July 29.

Two petition challenges to immigration law called off

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