Ay, what a year!
Arredondo indicted in FBI sting
State Representative Ben Arredondo was charged with bribery, mail fraud, extortion and lying in an FBI sting in which he offered to exchange favors for sports tickets. The indictment alleges that he demanded tickets and gifts from a fake company ostensibly planning development projects in Tempe. The longtime former Tempe councilman resigned his state House seat after the indictment. The FBI sting is unrelated to the Fiesta Bowl scandal Arredondo was previously involved in. As councilman in 2005, Arredondo had received expensive tickets to sporting events after helping Bowl executives secure a $6.45 million subsidy from the City of Tempe.
DREAMer deferment sets off legal battle
On June 15, President Obama issued an executive order suspending deportations of young Latino DREAMers for two years. In a speech, Obama said, “It makes no sense to expel talented young people who are, for all intents and purposes, Americans.” Phoenix DREAMer, Carla Chavarria, said she and other DREAMers realized that Obama acted to influence the Latino vote in the November presidential election, but “it’s great he took this action; we’re thankful he did, but we are still holding him accountable.”
Arizona governor, Jan Brewer, promptly issued her executive order denying DREAMers public benefits and driver licenses. The Maricopa County Community College District defied the governor by approving in-state tuition for DREAMers. In December, local and national coalitions filed a lawsuit against Brewer’s order.
Browns will change state from red to blue
In early August, the ASU Morrison Institute Latino Public Policy Center released a study, titled “The Arizona Emerging Latino Vote,” predicting that Arizona will change from a Republican-dominated state to one electing more Democrats and Independents in the coming decades. This transition will be driven by the disproportionate growth in the number of young Latino voters. Latinos will be the majority of Arizona’s population by mid-century, the study says. The major impacts of these demographic changes on statewide voting patterns will be felt in the arenas of education, health care and workforce issues.
Courts rule for “show me your papers” law
Both the U.S. Supreme Court and a U.S. District Court approved the most hotly disputed part of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, SB 1070. Section 2B, referred to as the “show me your papers” requirement, allows the police to determine the immigration status of anyone arrested or detained when there is “reasonable suspicion” they are not in the U.S. legally, and authorizes police to demand documents proving immigration or citizenship status from anyone they stop. The courts’ decision has instigated the formation of a statewide network of civil rights organizations that say they want to protect all people – undocumented immigrants or citizens – against racial profiling.
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