The Governor’s Office has collected more than $48,000 in the past six weeks to help defend the nation’s toughest immigration law and hopes to collect more with the launch of a new website designed to streamline the collection of more donations.
“It’s amazing to see just how many folks across the country are supportive of Arizona’s passage and signing of SB 1070,” Gov. Jan Brewer said in a statement. “The pouring in of hundreds of unsolicited donations since the end of April speaks volumes about how important securing our border is to citizens across America.”
Brewer also announced the creation of a website, www.keepazsafe.com, which allows people to use a credit card to donate to the legal defense fund.
The money, which a spokesman for Brewer said was given unsolicited by supporters of the law, will be used to defray the state’s cost to defend the law in federal court. Opponents of S1070, which requires police officers to verify the citizenship of people they stop if they suspect the person may be in the country illegally, have filed five separate lawsuits challenging the law’s constitutionality.
Brewer has hired attorney John Bouma, the chairman of law firm Snell & Wilmer, to defend the law. She is also fighting to keep Attorney General Terry Goddard, who is running for the Democratic nomination for governor, off the defense team. Goddard opposed the immigration law earlier this year when it was considered by lawmakers and told Arizona Capitol Times in April he expected his actions would prevent him from defending the law.
“If it does pass, and it’s signed by the governor, I will be screened because of my personal opposition to it,” Goddard said in April, adding that he thought the bill was “confusing” and raises “serious legal liabilities” for local governments. Instead, he said the duty of defending the measure would fall to Solicitor General Mary O’Grady or one of his deputy attorneys.
The donations to defend the law began arriving April 27, only four days after Brewer signed the bill. The first came from Sandra Esterline of Kentucky, who gave $15. Through June 10, there were 437 donations, totaling $19,754. But last week, her office received another $29,000, most of it after the governor publicized the fund on June 16.
Donations came from 46 states, plus the District of Columbia – only Montana, North Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming were not represented on the donation list. The largest donation was $2,000 from a Louisiana man.
The story about the donations was first reported by the Yellow Sheet Report, a sister publication of Arizona Capitol Times.