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Immigration rights group makes point by delivering toilet to Seel’s office

José "Beto" Soto, Field Director for Citizens for a Better Arizona, shows off his group's prop toilet featuring a picture of Rep. Carl Seel, R-Phoenix, in front of the Arizona Capitol in opposition to a bill the lawmaker has introduced. (Photo by Evan Wyloge/Arizona Capitol Times)

José “Beto” Soto, Field Director for Citizens for a Better Arizona, shows off his group’s prop toilet featuring a picture of Rep. Carl Seel, R-Phoenix, in front of the Arizona Capitol in opposition to a bill the lawmaker has introduced. (Photo by Evan Wyloge/Arizona Capitol Times)

The pro-immigration rights group that spearheaded the successful recall and ouster of conservative icon Russell Pearce almost three years ago is going after one of his allies in the Legislature – with a toilet.

In its latest gimmick, Citizens for a Better Arizona brought a brand new toilet for Rep. Carl Seel, R-Phoenix, and tried to deliver it to his legislative office at noon today to dramatize its opposition to his proposal that aims to criminalize accessing of “any public resource” by illegal immigrants.

CBA claims that Seel’s HB2192 would make it a crime to use a public restroom without proof of citizenship, as the bill defines the use of public resources to include “driving on a public road or highway, accepting any public benefit, attending a public school or using the services of any public entity in this state.”

The group said the proposal could apply to all kinds of public sources, including the water that runs in public buildings’ restrooms. Violating the bill’s provisions is a Class 1 misdemeanor, but a second offense will mean a felony.

Seel could not be reached for comment.

Beto Soto, the group’s field director, said the toilet is an “award” for Seel’s emulation of Pearce’s approach to confronting the country’s illegal immigration woes.

“The [Russell Pearce Extremist] award… is reserved for people who want to bring shame to Arizona,” Soto said in the House lobby.

Soto noted that CBA spearheaded the drive to oust Pearce in 2011.

“The citizens of Arizona spoke about what happens to politicians that are too extreme [and] want to divide our state,” he said. “Russell Pearce went from being the most powerful politician in Arizona to being unemployed.”

Department of Public Safety officers, however, wouldn’t let Soto’s group leave the toilet in the House lobby and threatened to cite a CBA member with littering for bringing the toilet inside. After a brief discussion with the officers, Soto’s group took the toilet away.

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