State Capitol News
9:52 am
Thu January 2, 2014

SB 1070 Legislator Communications To Go Public

A federal judge has allowed challengers to the state's major law aimed at illegal immigrants to see which advocacy groups were advising legislators. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports.

Credit Politico

Judges have struck down some provisions of SB 1070. But, the U.S. Supreme Court said federal law does not preempt one section of the 2010 legislation that requires police to question those they have stopped about their immigration status if there is reason to believe they are in the country illegally. That still leaves the question of whether the law violates equal protection provisions of the Constitution.

Victor Viramontes of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund said challengers must show the real purpose of the law is discriminatory, despite what proponents say. He said it is important to show what kind of advice lawmakers were getting from groups like the Federation for American Immigration Reform and the Immigration Reform Law Institute.

“Here you have prominent proponents of SB 1070 talking to each other,” Viramontes said. “You have the legislators talking to anti-immigrant advocates. And we would like to know what they said to each other. Particularly we want to know if they said anything about Latinos or people of Mexican ancestry.”

Judge Susan Bolton rejected claims by lawyers for both groups that having to surrender the e-mails and documents would interfere with their First Amendment rights to communicate with lawmakers. And she dismissed claims that there was an attorney-client relationship with the legislators, saying the groups were providing policy — and not legal advice.