Brewer to announce decision on controversial immigration bill

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by Catherine Holland

azfamily.com

Posted on April 23, 2010 at 6:44 AM

Updated Friday, Apr 23 at 11:42 AM

PHOENIX -- Gov. Jan Brewer has scheduled a news conference for 1:30 p.m. to announce her decision on the controversial immigration bill that has people all over the country talking.

More and more people on both sides of the issue are gathering at the state Capitol as the time for Brewer's news conference ticks closer.

While there are some reports that she plans to sign SB 1070 into law, Brewer herself has not given any indication about her intentions, not even when speaking Thursday night at an awards banquet for the Hispanic organization Chicanos por la Causa.

She touched on the issue only briefly during her 10-minute speech.

“I've heard your concerns about immigration reform. ... While I’m not prepared to announce a decision on 1070, what I decide will be based on doing what's right for Arizona," she said.

The governor has until tomorrow to sign the bill, veto it or allow it to become law without her signature.

The bill has been the center of controversy with emotions on both sides running high. Protesters who want Brewer to veto the bill have been at the state Capitol all week.

Yesterday, about  1,000 students from several high schools walked out of their classes and marched several miles to the Capitol to make their voices heard. While most of those students who took part are too young to vote, they still wanted to protest SB1070.

In addition, a bus load of protesters from Los Angeles arrived at the Capitol to support those pushing the governor for a veto.

Even state officials are divided on the bill, which would give Arizona some of the toughest anti-immigration laws in the entire country.

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon calls the bill morally wrong, hateful and unconstitutional. He said the bill is "humiliating for Arizona."

Interim Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley says he hopes Brewer will veto SB1070, but he will abide by it if it does become law.

"This bill is tearing our community apart," Romley said during a news conference. Romley's opinion puts him direct opposition to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is all for SB 1070.

"It's going to enhance our reputation," he said. "People are going to come here because maybe they can find a job if we keep raiding these businesses and make vacancies when you arrest people who are here illegally. That means people who are here legally can find a job."

The sweeping measure gives police new duties to question people about their immigration status in some circumstances, targets hiring of illegal immigrants and creates a state crime for them to not have papers to be in the country illegally.

Arizona has an estimated 460,000 illegal immigrants and is the nation's busiest border crossing point.

President Barack Obama spoke out against the bill during a naturalization ceremony at the White House Friday morning. He called the measure "misguided."

"Our failure to act responsible at the federal level will only open the door to irresponsibility by others. That includes, for example, the recent efforts in Arizona which threaten to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and their communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe. In fact, I've instructed members of my administration to closely monitor the situation and examine the civil rights and other implications of this legislation. But if we continue to fail to act at the federal level, we will continue to see misguided efforts opening up around the country."

Watch the news conference live on azfamily.com or 3TV.

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