The state's sweeping immigration law is a "national embarrassment" that Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said he'll enforce only if he's forced to.
"This law is unwise. This law is stupid, and it's racist," Dupnik said Wednesday. "It's a national embarrassment. … If I were a Hispanic person in the state, I would be humiliated and angered."
While Dupnik opposes what he deems an unnecessary law, he said he might have to reluctantly enforce it if the measure withstands a legal challenge.
"If the county attorney tells me credibly that I don't have any choice, or that I'm going to put our department and our county in legal jeopardy if I don't, then I'll have to think about that. It would irresponsible for me to do otherwise."
Dupnik said he agrees illegal immigrants should not be in the state but said his department already arrests and refers more illegal immigrants to the Border Patrol than any other law enforcement agency in the state and doesn't need a "new tool" to continue doing that.
Poll finds Brewer got boost by signing bill
Arizona's controversial immigration bill appears to be influencing how voters perceive the governor's race according two new polls - one by a Democratic-leaning pollster and one with Republican ties. But they disagree on who benefits politically.
A Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of 500 likely voters indicates Gov. Jan Brewer got a bump after signing the law.
Rasmussen found 56 percent of voters approve of the way Brewer is leading the state, up from 40 percent two weeks ago. They also found Brewer would get get 48 percent of the vote to Democratic nominee and Attorney General Terry Goddard's 40 percent - double the margin from two weeks ago.
The Center for Public Integrity shows Scott Rasmussen worked for the Republican National Committee in 2004. His survey had a 4.5 percent sampling error.
Meanwhile, a poll by Public Policy Polling, which works for Democrats, found Goddard leads Brewer 47 percent to 44 percent, based on its survey of 813 voters over the weekend, after she signed the bill. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percent.
Dean Debnam, president of the polling organization, said the remainder of the race could hinge on the popularity of the new law, which Goddard opposed.
Religious leaders call law unethical, racist
The state's new immigration law is unethical and racist and goes against the values of most Arizonans, nearly 40 church and religious faith leaders said Wednesday.
The law "is immoral, unethical and racist," said the Rev. Alison Harrington, pastor of Southside Presbyterian Church where a noon news conference was held.
"Calling it what it is," Harrington and the other faith representatives said of the bill signed by Gov. Jan Brewer last week. It will instill more fear among the immigrant communities and lead to racial profiling and abuse of police power, she said.
"It is an act of injustice aimed at people whose appearance is suspect," said Rev. Carmen B. Guerrero of Phoenix, representing the Episcopal bishop and church of Arizona.
"To say there will be no racial profiling is an insult to the integrity of all Arizonans," Guerrero said.
Speakers pledged that they and their congregations will resist the new law, which is expected to take effect this summer if not challenged in court.
NY firm may suffer from Arizona boycott
GARDEN CITY, N.Y. - A New York-based beverage company finds itself in the middle of the controversy over the Arizona immigration law simply because it shares its name with the state.
An initiative apparently started on the Internet asks people to boycott the AriZona Beverage Co. because of claims the law will unfairly target Hispanics.
The company is based in Woodbury, 20 miles east of New York City. It sells teas and juice blends such as Mucho Mango. Chairman Don Vultaggio says it was started by "two hardworking guys from Brooklyn" in 1992 and has always been in New York.
Democratic New York state Sen. Craig Johnson opposes the Arizona law but calls the boycott misguided.
Staff and wire reports
Rhonda Bodfield, Ernesto Portillo, Brady McCombs