A majority of likely voters appear willing to swap tougher enforcement for civil-rights protections, according to a new poll that found 70 percent of likely voters support a measure authorizing police to check the immigration status of anyone they suspect of being an illegal immigrant.
Although critics have staged rallies and protests, fearful it will lead to racial profiling, a Rasmussen Reports poll of 500 likely voters found only 23 percent say they oppose the law, which still must be signed by the governor.
Even so, about 53 percent of voters say they're concerned that the efforts could violate the rights of some U.S. citizens.
When broken down by party, Republicans are more supportive - at 84 percent - than are Democrats, who are more closely divided with 51 percent in favor.
More than 80 percent of voters surveyed said a candidate's position on immigration is an important factor in how they will vote.
Republican Gov. Jan Brewer has not said whether she'll sign SB 1070, although all three of her front line challengers say they support it. Businessman Buz Mills said, "For too long, we've waited for federal officials to do their job and secure the border," while state Treasurer Dean Martin said he supports giving law enforcement more tools to do their job.
Tucson attorney John Munger said he wants to secure the border using the Department of Public Safety and the National Guard. "We cannot keep waiting for the federal government to solve this problem for us, especially when we have the means and the authority to take action ourselves," he said.
On the other side of the political spectrum, the Border Action Network invited opponents to a mock funeral for the state Monday to mark its passage, saying the son of "responsibility and common good" had passed, but was survived by "hope, mercy and justice."
Democratic Attorney General Terry Goddard also is against it, as is U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva, who is calling on businesses and national organizations to boycott Arizona as a destination. He noted a Super Bowl ban was effective in overturning the state's refusal to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
"Turning every police officer in the state into a roving immigration official, armed with a racial profiling mandate, is un-American on its face and cannot withstand even casual legal scrutiny," Grijalva said.
Meanwhile, Republican U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl expressed sarcastic disapproval of Grijalva's comments.
"That's very helpful. An Arizona congressman calling for folks to boycott his home state?" Kyl said in the Washington Times. "That'll really help job creation. End of comment."
Contact reporter Rhonda Bodfield at 573-4243 or firstname.lastname@example.org