Citizens for a Better Arizona, a grassroots organization based in Mesa, has submitted petitions with more than 18,000 signatures to the secretary of state calling for the recall of Senate President Russell Pearce.
Pearce, a Republican, sponsored Arizona’s controversial immigration reform bill that spawned similar measures in various states across the nation. The bill would have required local police to question the immigration status of anyone they suspected may be an illegal alien. Although the legislation passed in Arizona it was later struck down by a federal court.
The group describes itself as bipartisan mixture of young and old voters primarily from either white or Latino backgrounds.
“Today, citizens from Arizona have come together to make a bold statement that the divisive and extreme politics of Russell Pearce must end,” said Randy Parraz, one of the recall campaign’s organizers.
In response, Pearce’s supporters have launched their own group, The Citizens Who Oppose the Pearce Recall. The organization has created its own website, seeking donations to fight the recall.
Multiple states have followed in Arizona’s footsteps since it passed its immigration law in 2010. In May, Utah passed a bill that also allowed law enforcement to detain suspected immigrants, which was blocked by a federal court before taking effect.