Republican governor knows she can still count on voters despite legal setback

It wasn't all bad news for Jan Brewer, the hard-knuckle governor of Arizona who has taken ownership of the state's attempt to crack down on illegal immigration, and therefore managed to turn herself into one of the best-known players in a snowballing political debate that has polarised America.

Yes, the signature legislation she had oh-so publicly signed back in April has now been thrown into legal limbo. Yes, she has turned Arizona's good name into a byword for knee-jerk right-wingery, sparking a trade boycott which has cost the state tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars in lost trade and tourism and united major US cities with the governments of Mexico, Argentina and Ecuador in steely condemnation.

And yes, she has found herself at odds with almost all the major organisations involved in the civil rights movement, together with public figures such as the Rev Al Sharpton, the singer Shakira, the Black Eyed Peas, and what seems like half of Hollywood.

But Governor Brewer, a Republican facing a re-election battle before November's elections, knows that the only statistic that really counts is the one in the polls. And roughly 60 per cent of Arizonans support Senate Bill 1070, the tough law which aimed to combat illegal immigration. Their backing has been enough to give her a record 20 per cent lead over her Democratic rival, Terry Goddard.

Although she is widely despised by the Latino community, who make up 30 per cent of the state's 6.5 million residents, Ms Brewer knows that their turnout at elections is historically tiny.

Meanwhile the white community feels besieged by a Latino community which is accused of failing to integrate or learn English (many billboards in Phoenix's poorer neighbourhoods are in Spanish). Immigrants are widely accused of committing crimes, taking up places in public schools, and using free hospital beds.

Ms Brewer tapped into this sentiment, blaming migrants for a wave of violence. "Our law enforcement agencies have found bodies in the desert either buried or just lying out there that have been beheaded."

That surprised the police and border patrol agencies. They have yet to record a single immigration-related beheading. Ever. In fact, violent crime in Arizona is at a 20-year low.

And though Ms Brewer talks of a "terrible crisis" affecting her state, official estimates suggest that the number of undocumented workers has fallen since 2008.

It nonetheless suits the governor and her Republican-dominated state senate to keep the issue bubbling away. She has declared that the injunction was "just a bump in the road," and she would appeal against it.

However it will take weeks, and possibly months, for her to even get a hearing. If the case makes its way to the Supreme Court, it could take years. "Jan Brewer played politics with immigration, and she lost," was how her opponent Mr Goddard put it yesterday.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine