View Full Version : Az. Gov. Signs Immigration Initiative To Allow For Federal Review

Friday, December 10th, 2004, 05:46 PM
Napolitano signs immigration initiative to allow for federal review

Paul Davenport
Associated Press
Dec. 8, 2004 04:40 PM

Gov. Janet Napolitano, who was on the road, had an aide use a signature machine Wednesday to sign a voter-approved immigration initiative after a judge modified his previous order barring it from taking effect.

The measure, approved by voters Nov. 2, requires proof of legal immigration status when obtaining some government services and proof of citizenship when registering to vote. Government workers who don't report illegal immigrants who try to get benefits could face jail time and a fine.

The revised order issued by the judge Tuesday and Napolitano's signature will allow the initiative's voting provisions to be submitted for a required federal review.

Because of past violations of minorities' voting rights, Arizona is required to get U.S. Justice Department approval on any election law changes before they can take effect.

U.S. District Judge David C. Bury's modified order allowed Napolitano to sign the proclamation putting the initiative into effect, but it still prohibits implementation of it provisions on public services pending a Dec. 22 hearing in Tucson.

Bury issued a temporary restraining order Nov. 30 barring implementation of the law based on a legal challenge from opponents.

Opponents said Proposition 200 is unconstitutional because it usurps the federal government's power over immigration and naturalization. Their lawsuit argues that the law will jeopardize families who depend on public benefits for basic necessities.

Bury modified his order in response to a request filed by the Attorney General's Office on Napolitano's behalf.

The state argued that Napolitano had a constitutional duty to sign the proclamation "forthwith" and that the voting provisions were not the subject of the opponents' request for a temporary restraining order.

Bury said Napolitano could sign the voting provisions of Proposition 200 but not the services provisions. The governor took that part of his modified order into account by saying in the proclamation that it was subject to the court order, said Tim Nelson, Napolitano's general counsel.

Nelson said Napolitano, in Washington for meetings as part of a six-day East Coast trip, authorized him to sign the proclamation on her behalf with a signature machine.

Napolitano will hand-sign another copy of the proclamation on Monday after she returns to Arizona, Nelson said.

In another development, a group supporting Proposition 200 on Wednesday asked to be allowed to help defend the measure from the opponents' challenge. The state may not mount a vigorous defense, a lawyer said on behalf of the Yes on 200 Committee.

The committee is concerned state officials "responsible for defending the clear will of Arizona voters are less than enthusiastic about doing so," said William Perry Pendley, president and chief legal officer of the Mountain States Legal Foundation.

The Lakewood, Colo.-based public interest law firm is representing the Proposition 200 backers group, headed by Phoenix businessman Randy Pullen.

Attorney General Terry Goddard opposed passage of the initiative but, once it was approved by voters, pledged to defend it in court.

A Goddard aide did not immediately return a call for comment Wednesday.

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