Russell Pearce Set to Move on Immigration Bills

There's no slowing down the 'John Wayne of the Legislature.'

By Julianne Hing Mar 10, 2011

The Arizona legislature took a short hiatus from ramming anti-immigrant bills through committee to deal with actually pressing issues, like its gaping $1.1 billion budget deficit. As legislators hash out how to sew up the deficit, students and those in need of medical transplants are getting squeezed hard, while businesses are getting tax cuts.

This week Senate President Russell Pearce announced he’s gearing up to take up immigration again, the AP reported.

Pearce’s spokesperson told the AP that he’s fine-tuning a suite of bills that would deny citizenship to children born to undocumented immigrant parents, bar undocumented children from public schools and forbid undocumented immigrants from buying or registering a vehicle. A separate bill, SB 1405, would require hospital workers to ask for a person’s immigration papers before they could provide non-emergency medical care. Pearce’s spokesperson said the bills could come up to the Senate as early as this week, the AP reported.

Should the Republican-controlled Senate pass the bills they’d move to the House, where they would need to wait for the budget to be resolved.

Pearce said that while the legislature deals with the budget deficit, he had the Senate Rules Committee start a legal review of the bills. He said he would be open to amendments to make the immigration bills more attractive to his colleagues. But don’t expect him to rein in the harsh enforcement and anti-immigrant crackdowns. Pearce, who has famously said he aspires to be the "John Wayne of the Legislature," has made his name on anti-immigrant policy. Prior to this legislative year, Pearce was the driving force behind Arizona’s SB 1070.