Immigration debates gets heated in Arizona Senate

Daniel Scarpinato in the Arizona Daily Star

A group of religious activists were told to leave the state Senate Tuesday after they sought to voice their opposition to a bill designed to get local law enforcement to act on federal immigration laws.

Now, the heated dust-up is underlining concerns about the Legislature rushing through dozens of bills in what may be the final days of its session and Democratic criticisms of the powerful GOP chairman of the Appropriations Committee.

But that chairman, Sen. Russell Pearce, also the sponsor of the bill, called the clergy “anarchists” who tried to “hijack” his committee.

HB 2280 would ban local policies that prevent law enforcement from enforcing federal immigration law, ending what Pearce and others call “open borders,” sanctuary policies.

The clergy, part of a socially liberal interfaith group that included representatives from Tucson, called the bill immoral.

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