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Critics decry Arizona 'fixes' in immigration law as boycotts threaten state's economy, baseball team

May 3, 2010 |  9:36 am

Protester Susan Peralta waves her sign at state capitol as Arizona state trooper looks on May 1, 2010 by Getty Images
Arizona's new immigration bill has provoked a storm of protests.

Vandals used refried beans to smear Nazi swastikas on the state Capitol in Phoenix. Companies are pulling their conventions from Arizona. Activists are organizing boycotts that will rob the state's already-battered economy of needed funds. Even the Diamondbacks are hurting -- and New York Democrat Jose Serrano has called on Major League Baseball -- with 40% of its players Latino -- to move the 2011 All-Star Game from Phoenix.

Even local law enforcement officials complain that the law is a bureaucratic nightmare -- giving citizens the right, as if they were vigilantes, to sue police departments if they feel they are not enforcing the law with sufficient vigor.

So the Legislature passed, and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed new amendments to the law requiring police to have reasons other than immigration status for detaining a suspected illegal immigrant.

"It’s far too little, too late," said Colorado's Aurora Sentinel. "After seeing the astounding international backlash this measure has created ... Arizona lawmakers and the governor are trying to backpedal on the law by adjusting the packaging," said the paper. "Don’t be fooled. This measure requires civilian police to ferret out those in the country illegally, setting up a state where proof of citizenship is required at all times for those who look, speak or act as if they have a family tree with roots in Mexico, Central America, South America, Cuba or even Spain."

Of course, Colorado shares a border with New Mexico (the state), not Mexico (the country), with few worries about illegal immigrants crossing the border or Mexican gangs kidnapping and killing gringos.

Still, the outrage continues. With the law taking effect in late July, President Obama has ordered the Justice Department to examine its legality.

Federal intervention in the case may be just what the doctor ordered. One thing Arizonans all seem to agree on is that the federal government has been negligent in ignoring the issue -- forcing states to invent their own solutions.

Related item:

On second thought, Americans still like Arizona's new illegal immigrant law

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo: Susan Peralta, with a state trooper, joins activists protesting Arizona's new immigration law at the state Capitol in Phoenix on Saturday. Credit: Getty Images

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