Arizona’s message

There was a lot of good news last night and some great headlines this morning. But here’s one of my favorites, via Fox News Latino, and not just because it references one of (immigrant former governor) Arnold Schwarzenegger’s best films:

Conservative voters in Arizona may have had enough of their immigrant-bashing elected officials, it seems. Arizonans confirmed that Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce had gone too far by sponsoring and pushing hard for the passage and implementation of SB 1070, an insanely draconian (and likely unconstitutional) anti-immigrant, anti-Latino law that facilitates racial profiling.

Arizona is also home to controversial, attention-loving Sheriff Joe Arpaio (pictured above on the right), an ardent supporter of Russell Pearce and vocal proponent of SB 1070. Arpaio has personified the extremist elements in the state that support SB 1070, and his questionable enforcement tactics have earned him criticism from Amnesty International for the harsh treatment of prisoners. His actions, which recently included forcing an immigrant detainee to give birth while handcuffed and shackled, are the subject of two federal investigations, one by the Department of Justice over civil rights violations and another by a federal grand jury for abuse of power.

The recall vote, the first ever recall of an Arizona state legislator, is being heralded as a rejection of the policies and tactics embodied in SB 1070.

Pearce lost the election last night in his conservative suburban Phoenix district to a political newcomer, fellow Republican Jerry Lewis. Pearce lost by a substantial margin of seven percent, despite having outspent Lewis by a 3-to-1 ratio, thanks to a flood of campaign funds donated by corporate lobbyists, 90 percent of which came from outside the district.

Legislators in other states – most notably Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Indiana – who have targeted immigrant workers and their families for political gain or because of intense lobbying from corporate interests, including and especially from the private prison industry – are now officially on notice. If you strive to terrorize law-abiding immigrants and Latinos who simply wish to work to provide food and shelter for their families, responsible voters will not allow you to remain in power, no matter how much money you get from the special interests you champion.