Arizona Immigration: Emails Show Anti-Latino Bias

Opponents of Arizona’s immigration law claim that emails sent by former state senator Russell Pearce claim that the law was racially biased and racially motivated. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) applied for a public records request to gain access to thousands of Pearce’s emails. The ACLU is using some of the emails to ask U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton to block some components of SB 1070.

According to the ACLU, the emails show that Pearce feels hostility towards the Hispanic population and conflates the Hispanic population and the undocumented immigrant population. Pearce has not yet commented on the emails or on the ACLU claims. A representative for the office of Governor Jan Brewer has stated that the ACLU’s attempts will not be successful; in stopping SB 1070 from taking effect.

According to the ACLU, in one email Pearce calls undocumented immigrants “Tough, nasty illegals.” In another quoted email, Pearce allegedly writes “Can we maintain our social fabric as a nation with Spanish fighting English for dominance … It’s like importing leper colonies and hope we don’t catch leprosy.” In another quote, Pearce allegedly writes that undocumented immigrants “run us out of our cities and states. They conquer our language and our schools. They render havoc and chaos in our schools.” In one email, he allegedly claims that the Hispanic population harms the US, writing “We are much like the Titanic as we inbreed millions of Mexico’s poor, the world’s poor and we watch our country sink.”

In some emails, Pearce allegedly quotes statistics suggesting that undocumented immigrants have 2.5 times the crime rate of legal immigrants and that undocumented immigrants kill 9000 people yearly. According to the ACLU and other groups, this data is completely inaccurate.

It is not immediately clear whether the words in Pearce’s emails are his own or were composed by someone else. However, all the emails obtained by the ACLU comes from the legislative and personal email accounts belonging to Pearce.

The National Coalition for Immigrant Women’s Rights has called the language in the emails “vitriolic” and “bigoted.” The emails have sparked complaints and outrage as well as many news stories. Pearce is looking to come back to the state Senate, and the released emails could harm his election efforts. In the past, he has stated that he has supported SB 1070 only to support the enforcement of immigration laws. He has stated that his aims were not racially motivated.