Judge allows access to emails on immigration law

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

FLORENCE, Ariz. (AP) -- A judge has once again denied a request by two immigration-policy groups that sought to block subpoenas for all communications between the groups and state officials as the Arizona Legislature considered the state's landmark 2010 immigration law.

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton on Friday denied a request by the Federation for American Immigration Reform and Immigration Reform Law Institute to reconsider her December decision that grants lawyers who are challenging the law access to the documents.

The challengers say they want access to letters, emails and memos between lawmakers and advocates for tougher immigration enforcement to see why proponents of the law believed it needed to be passed. They also are seeking documents to back up their claim that the law was passed with a discriminatory intent.

One of the subpoenas in question requested all communications between the two groups and any state official since January that contained the terms "immigrant," "undocumented," "day laborer," "Hispanic," "Mexican" and others.

The judge rejected the groups' arguments that the communications were protected by attorney-client privilege, saying there was no evidence that the groups had such a relationship with state lawmakers.

"They have to comply with the subpoena," said Karen Tumlin, one of the attorneys pushing the challenge to the law.

Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, said the ruling interferes with the ability of private citizens to communicate with policy makers. "This is just a fishing expedition, and it shouldn't be allowed," Stein said.

Stein said the groups haven't yet decided whether they would appeal Bolton's ruling.

In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law's most contentious section that that required police, while enforcing other laws, to question people's immigration status if they're believed to be in the country illegally. The nation's highest court struck down other sections of the law, such as a requirement that immigrants obtain or carry immigration registration papers.

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