June 25th, 2012
01:18 PM ET

Live blog: Supreme Court strikes down most of Arizona immigration law, upholds one part

Editor's note: We're live blogging from the Supreme Court today as the nation waits to see whether the justices will hand down rulings on the controversial health care and immigration laws. You can follow along below as CNN Supreme Court Producer Bill Mears and Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin get the latest details live from the court as well as analysis when, and if, the major rulings come on Monday. Watch live coverage and analysis now on CNN TV, CNN’s mobile apps and http://cnn.com/live.

[Updated at 1:18 p.m. ET] Attorney General Eric Holder issued the following statement reacting to the Court's ruling:

“I welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down major provisions of Arizona’s S.B. 1070 on federal preemption grounds. Today’s ruling appropriately bars the State of Arizona from effectively criminalizing unlawful status in the state and confirms the federal government’s exclusive authority to regulate in the area of immigration.

While I am pleased the Court confirmed the serious constitutional questions the government raised regarding Section 2, I remain concerned about the impact of Section 2, which requires law enforcement officials to verify the immigration status of any person lawfully stopped or detained when they have reason to suspect that the person is here unlawfully. As the Court itself recognized, Section 2 is not a license to engage in racial profiling and I want to assure communities around this country that the Department of Justice will continue to vigorously enforce federal prohibitions against racial and ethnic discrimination. We will closely monitor the impact of S.B. 1070 to ensure compliance with federal immigration law and with applicable civil rights laws, including ensuring that law enforcement agencies and others do not implement the law in a manner that has the purpose or effect of discriminating against the Latino or any other community.

We will also work to ensure that the verification provision does not divert police officers away from traditional law enforcement efforts in order to enforce federal immigration law, potentially impairing local policing efforts and discouraging crime victims, including children of non-citizens, victims of domestic violence, and asylum seekers, from reporting abuses and crimes out of fear of detention or deportation. We will continue to use every federal resource to protect the safety and civil rights of all Americans.”

[Updated at 12:31 p.m. ET] President Barack Obama has weighed in on the court decision, praising that some parts were struck down, but adding that he was concerned about the provision that remained. His statement is in full below:

"I am pleased that the Supreme Court has struck down key provisions of Arizona's immigration law. What this decision makes unmistakably clear is that Congress must act on comprehensive immigration reform. A patchwork of state laws is not a solution to our broken immigration system – it’s part of the problem.

At the same time, I remain concerned about the practical impact of the remaining provision of the Arizona law that requires local law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of anyone they even suspect to be here illegally. I agree with the Court that individuals cannot be detained solely to verify their immigration status. No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like. Going forward, we must ensure that Arizona law enforcement officials do not enforce this law in a manner that undermines the civil rights of Americans, as the Court’s decision recognizes. Furthermore, we will continue to enforce our immigration laws by focusing on our most important priorities like border security and criminals who endanger our communities, and not, for example, students who earn their education – which is why the Department of Homeland Security announced earlier this month that it will lift the shadow of deportation from young people who were brought to the United States as children through no fault of their own.

I will work with anyone in Congress who’s willing to make progress on comprehensive immigration reform that addresses our economic needs and security needs, and upholds our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. And in the meantime, we will continue to use every federal resource to protect the safety and civil rights of all Americans, and treat all our people with dignity and respect. We can solve these challenges not in spite of our most cherished values – but because of them. What makes us American is not a question of what we look like or what our names are. What makes us American is our shared belief in the enduring promise of this country – and our shared responsibility to leave it more generous and more hopeful than we found it."

[Updated at 12:08 p.m. ET] In regard to similar laws that have been enacted in other states, CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin predicts “legal trench warfare on all these laws.”

The  “mixed nature of the verdict” makes it impossible to say if these laws or constitutional or unconstitutional, so judges in the future will have to go through each law provision by provision to determine constitutionality.

The ruling guarantees American will see more cases out of other states in the future,” Toobin said.

FULL POST

June 25th, 2012
10:55 AM ET

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on immigration ruling: We won

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer issued the following statement after the Supreme Court ruled on her state's controversial immigration law:

U.S. Supreme Court Decision Upholds Heart of SB 1070

“Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is a victory for the rule of law. It is also a victory for the 10th Amendment and all Americans who believe in the inherent right and responsibility of states to defend their citizens. After more than two years of legal challenges, the heart of SB 1070 can now be implemented in accordance with the U.S. Constitution.

“While we are grateful for this legal victory, today is an opportunity to reflect on our journey and focus upon the true task ahead: the implementation and enforcement of this law in an even-handed manner that lives up to our highest ideals as American citizens. I know the State of Arizona and its law enforcement officers are up to the task. The case for SB 1070 has always been about our support for the rule of law. That means every law, including those against both illegal immigration and racial profiling. Law enforcement will be held accountable should this statute be misused in a fashion that violates an individual’s civil rights.

“The last two years have been spent in preparation for this ruling. Upon signing SB 1070 in 2010, I issued an Executive Order directing the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board (AZ POST) to develop and provide training to ensure our officers are prepared to enforce this law efficiently, effectively and in a manner consistent with the Constitution. In recent days, in anticipation of this decision, I issued a new Executive Order asking that this training be made available once again to all of Arizona’s law enforcement officers. I am confident our officers are prepared to carry out this law responsibly and lawfully. Nothing less is acceptable.

“Of course, today’s ruling does not mark the end of our journey. It can be expected that legal challenges to SB 1070 and the State of Arizona will continue. Our critics are already preparing new litigation tactics in response to their loss at the Supreme Court, and undoubtedly will allege inequities in the implementation of the law. As I said two years ago on the day I signed SB 1070 into law, ‘We cannot give them that chance. We must use this new tool wisely, and fight for our safety with the honor Arizona deserves.’”


Filed under: Arizona • Immigration
Tombstone takes water fight to canyons, Capitol Hill
Members of the Tombstone Shovel Brigade climbed two miles up a steep canyon to repair a 26-mile water pipeline.
June 8th, 2012
09:12 PM ET

Tombstone takes water fight to canyons, Capitol Hill

Tombstone, Arizona (CNN) – Under an unforgiving desert sun, about 60 determined souls gathered in a high school football field under the banner of the Tombstone Shovel Brigade. They collected shovels and joined a pickup truck caravan across the desert. Then they climbed two miles up a steep, rocky canyon and began to move part of a mountain, one boulder at a time.

Thousands of miles away, in the nation’s capital, Tombstone’s congressman and the city archivist tried to move a bureaucratic mountain, too, during hearings before a subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee.

Tombstone, as CNN has reported, is in the midst of a court battle with the U.S. Forest Service. At issue is whether Tombstone can take heavy equipment into federally protected wilderness.

Tombstone is trying to repair a 26-mile pipeline that has brought mountain spring water into the city since 1881. The pipeline was damaged during last summer’s Monument Fire and floods that brought mud and boulders crashing down the denuded mountainside.

The city sued the Forest Service in December, accusing the agency of dragging its feet during a state of emergency. The courts have turned down the city’s request for an emergency injunction, and so the battle has entered a new phase in the court of public opinion.

Frustrated with the slow pace of the repairs, Tombstone’s supporters created the nonprofit Tombstone Shovel Brigade a couple of months ago. They are helped by the organizers of the Jarbidge Shovel Brigade, which used volunteer muscle power to move a boulder and reopen a mountain road on federal wilderness in 2000.

Tombstone has become the poster city for a sweeping resurgence of the Sagebrush Rebellion in some Western states. This time, Utah state Rep. Ken Ivory explained, the rebellion is not fueled by oilmen and cattle ranchers.

Instead, local governments are behind the movement to push back against what they say is the federal government’s treatment of them as “submissive subdivisions.”

U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake has introduced H.R. 5971, the Emergency Water Supply Restoration Act, which proposes to set aside Forest Service restrictions against the use of construction equipment during state-declared water emergencies. Flake and Nancy Sosa, the city’s archivist, were among the witnesses who testified Friday.

“The unforeseen consequences of federal laws and regulations threaten to do something outlaws, economic busts, and the Arizona desert couldn’t: Kill the town too tough to die,” Flake said. Tombstone, population 1,400, is a throwback to the Old West and is famous for the 30-second gunfight at the O.K. Corral, which is re-enacted for tourists twice a day.

“Without water, the most precious commodity in the desert, Tombstone will cease to exist,” Sosa said. She told the committee that Tombstone burned to the ground twice before the waterline was built.

CNN will have more on this developing story Saturday.

Post by:
Filed under: Arizona • Congress • Courts • Environment • Fire • Flooding • U.S. • Weather
May 16th, 2012
04:31 PM ET

Federal judge turns down Tombstone's emergency bid to fix water pipeline

The city of Tombstone, Arizona, has lost the first round in its showdown with the federal government over water.

U.S. District Judge Frank Zapata this week shot down Tombstone’s request for an emergency injunction ordering the U.S. Forest Service to step aside and let the city use heavy equipment to repair its 130-year-old pipeline in the Huachuca Mountains.

The pipeline and some of Tombstone’s springs lie within a federally protected wilderness area, requiring a permit from the Forest Service. But Tombstone says it owns the land and doesn't have to ask anyone for permission to make repairs that are critical to its survival.

Showdown at the H20 corral

In a 14-page written decision, Zapata said the evidence showed that the Forest Service had attempted to approve some permits, but that the city did not provide enough information.

Tombstone immediately appealed to the 9th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. Tombstone also plans to ask the 9th Circuit court for an injunction.

“We will take it all the way up to the Supreme Court if necessary,” said Christina Sandefur, and attorney with the Goldwater Institute, which represents Tombstone.

Tombstone’s 26-mile water line, which dates back to 1881, was damaged in landslides that followed last summer’s Monument Fire.

The city plans to hold the Tombstone Shovel Brigade on June 8 and 9, hoping hundreds, if not thousands, of volunteers with donated shovels will head into the mountains and work on the pipeline.

“The most desperate part of our work is to try to protect the work we have done from the monsoons,” said Tombstone City Clerk George Barnes.

Post by:
Filed under: Arizona
Overheard on CNN.com: Where do state and local laws end, federal authority begin?
A tour group meets at sunset in downtown Tombstone. The "town too tough to die" worries it's going to run dry.
May 11th, 2012
07:28 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Where do state and local laws end, federal authority begin?

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Tombstone, Arizona, which has a population of 1,400 people, is suing the federal government about a water line that was damaged in last year's massive Monument fire. The city says the federal government is blocking emergency repairs that are critical to its survival. Lawyers for the federal government say there's no emergency and that Tombstone is using the fire's aftermath as an excuse to "upgrade and improve" its water system. This story, and a few others that are being talked about, raise questions about the authority of the federal government over local and state governments.

Showdown at the H2O corral

A lot of readers said the federal government should not interfere.

TRussert: "This is totally and completely absurd. Let the town fix/improve their water needs and this will all be over. No species is going to suffer from this and the land will not be disturbed. In the meantime, all this bickering and letter of the law nonsense is just costing taxpayers unjustifiably. It's not like they want to drill for oil, which apparently has more success in being done on federal lands now, what idiocy. Doesn't anyone know that Federal Lands belong to the people? Someone with common sense step up and end this BS. We have real problems to deal with here. We don't need made-up ones on top of them."

Amegioa71: "This is the kind of thing that drives us crazy in the southwest ... the government won't lift a finger to control the border, but they'll prevent a town from using a wheelbarrow to repair its water line ... the government treats its people and their needs like they are the enemy."

Some wondered if there was something more going on here.

ryuujin: "Based upon the soap opera story presented here, there has got to a lot more than what has been explained. Therefore, don't blame the federal government until the WHOLE story is known. Start with following the money and why was the mayor who seemed to be getting the pipe fixed recalled?"

These readers think there might be a balance. FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Arizona • Joe Arpaio • Overheard on CNN.com • Politics • Same-sex marriage • U.S.
May 11th, 2012
07:49 AM ET

Baseball final forfeited because of girl at second base

The Arizona Charter Athletic Association state championship baseball game wasn't played Thursday night because Mesa Prep's second baseman is a girl.

Paige Sultzbach, a freshman, is playing baseball because her high school doesn't offer girls softball. But the school Mesa Prep was to face in the final, Our Lady of Sorrows Academy, said its boys would not compete against a team with a girl and forfeited the game - and the state title - to Mesa Prep.

"As a Catholic school, we promote the ideal of forming and educating boys and girls separately during the adolescent years, especially in physical education,” Our Lady of Sorrows said in a statement, according to CNN affiliate KTVK.

“It takes tremendous moral courage to stand by what it is you believe, and they are doing what they think is right,” Mesa Prep Headmaster Robert Wagner told KTVK.

But Sultzbach's mother, Pamela Sultzbach, said her daughter and the Mesa Prep team were being done a disservice.

"This is not a contact sport. It shouldn't be an issue. It wasn't that they were afraid they were going to hurt or injure her, it's that (they believe) that a girl's place is not on a field," Pamela Sultzbach told the Arizona Republic.

"I respect their views, but it's a bit out of the 18th century," Amy Arnold, Mesa Prep's athletic director, told the Republic.

Mesa Prep and Our Lady of Sorrows played twice during the regular season, but Sultzbach sat out, as they were away games for her team.

“It was on their field, and I felt the need to respect their rules,” she told KTVK.

The final would have been on a neutral field, and Sultzbach wanted to play.

Now, despite being hailed as state champions, Mesa Prep will feel like they've missed something, Pamela Sultzbach said.

"This team has worked so hard," she said. "They're undefeated. They had one game left. At our school, we're taught that when you start something, you complete it, and they weren't done."

Post by:
Filed under: Arizona • Baseball • Sports
Overheard on CNN.com: 'I stand with Joe Arpaio,' reader says about lawsuit
A Justice Department report describes "a pervasive culture of discriminatory bias against Latinos" in Joe Arpaio's office.
May 10th, 2012
08:26 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: 'I stand with Joe Arpaio,' reader says about lawsuit

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

The Justice Department filed a civil lawsuit against Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Maricopa County, Arizona, on Thursday.

"They're using me for the Latino vote, showing that they're doing something, taking on the sheriff over an alleged racial profiling," Arpaio told reporters in Phoenix. Our readers had varying takes on the controversial sheriff, illegal immigration and Arizona in general.

Arpaio: 'I will fight this to the bitter end'

Readers debated whether the federal government should be getting involved.

Tr1Xen: "I stand with Joe Arpaio on this one. Illegal immigration should be fought vigorously, and I applaud the State of Arizona and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department for taking that fight much more seriously than the Obama administration has. Heck, the Obama administration found fault in Texas' recent legislation requiring registered voters to provide photo ID, claiming that it discriminated against Latinos because they disproportionately lack photo identification (even though they are every bit as eligible to obtain photo identification, provided they are here legally). By the way, as a Texan, if that legislation is overturned by the federal government or isn't in effect on Election Day, I plan to wear a name tag with someone else's name on it when I go to vote. I'll tell them my correct name and to just ignore the name tag on my clothing. I urge others to do likewise! :)"

NoTarOnBeach: "Then you stand with a criminal. If you are OK with the police working outside the laws, then don't complain when the police abuse carries over to you."

19volks71: "Thank you. The federal government has no business in county level operations."

These people spoke out against Arpaio. FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Arizona • Joe Arpaio • Justice • Lawsuit • Overheard on CNN.com • U.S.
Arizona law leaves divisive legacy
Sergio Paez says Arizona's immigration law has hurt his tortilla business.
April 25th, 2012
07:53 AM ET

Arizona law leaves divisive legacy

The past few years haven’t been the best for a man trying to make an honest living selling tortillas in Arizona. Business owner Sergio Paez estimates that he has lost 20 businesses as customers in the past three years, from small neighborhood taquerias to chain restaurants.

In 2010, his tortilla business was suffering thanks to the nationwide recession. Then Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law the state's controversial immigration enforcement policy known as SB 1070, and things got even worse, he said.

“The law affected the immigrant population dramatically,” said Paez, a naturalized citizen from Mexico whose Phoenix-area factory produces about 200 dozen tortillas an hour.

“The economy had already been going down with the housing crisis - construction stopped, people were losing homes, jobs, cars. That triggered the recession, but I think this law aggravated it here.”

With oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court set for Wednesday in the Obama administration’s constitutional challenge to the law, the outcome will have far-reaching implications for Arizona and other states that have implemented similar policies since 2010.

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Arizona • Courts • Immigration • Justice
April 23rd, 2012
10:16 AM ET

Police track 100-plus leads in case of missing Arizona girl, 6

[Updated 11:25 a.m.] The house from which a 6-year-old Tucson, Arizona, girl went missing Saturday morning was being treated as a crime scene Monday as police said they were checking and re-checking more than 100 leads in the case.

Isabel Mercedes Celis was last seen by family members when she went to bed at 11 p.m. Friday. She was discovered missing when her father went to wake her at 8 a.m. Saturday.

Tucson chief of police Roberto Villasenor said Monday morning that investigators were looking over again many of the leads that have come in.

"You want new eyes looking things over several times," he told reporters in Tucson.

The chief said earlier police were investigating a broken screen in the child’s bedroom as a possible point of entry into the house.

“We have a window that was opened and a screen removed. We’re labeling it as suspicious circumstances and a possible abduction,”  he said Monday morning on CNN.

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Arizona • Crime
Gotta Watch: Extreme sand and dust storms
CNN iReporter Mujahid Latif captured images of this storm in Saudi Arabia.
April 16th, 2012
06:03 PM ET

Gotta Watch: Extreme sand and dust storms

Hold on tight as you watch these videos! Photographers had to battle strong sand and dust storms to capture these eye-popping clips.  Our first "Gotta Watch" video was captured by iReporter Mujahid Latif as he watched a wall of sand blow through Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

This meteorological phenomenon impacted a wedding in Arizona, too. See how the couple reacted when their wedding ceremony was suddenly covered in dust.

And a CNN reporter got a taste of one of these storms while shooting on location in Iraq. See him covered in dust as he tries to report from Camp Adder.

You've "Gotta Watch" these videos and more!

Close

Massive sandstorm outside Riyadh

iReporter Mujahid Latif witnesses a sandstorm outside Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Close

Couple marries amid dust storm

An Arizona wedding ceremony is interrupted when a massive haboob sweeps dust all over the couple and their guests.

Close

Reporter caught in Iraqi sandstorm

CNN's Fred Pleitgen finds himself in a nasty sandstorm as he shoots for BackStory.

Close

Dust storm creates visibility issues

A dust storm makes its way across Arizona, reducing visibility to almost zero and causing headaches for motorists.

Post by:
Filed under: Arizona • Gotta Watch • iReport • Saudi Arabia • U.S. • Weather • World
April 5th, 2012
09:40 PM ET

Gotta Watch: Emergency plane landings

The U.S has entered an unprecedented era of safer skies, according to industry experts, but not every plane landing has been perfect.

On Monday, 2,000 feet above the ground in Wisconsin, an 80-year old woman was forced to land a twin-engine Cessna after her pilot husband lost consciouness. You've "gotta watch" how this gutsy grandmother landed the plane.

Her successful landing reminds us of other daring attempts pilots have made during emergency landing situations. Watch how commercial pilots recently landed their impaired planes in Arizona, New York and Poland.

Close

Elderly passenger lands plane

In Wisconsin, an 80-year-old woman takes over the controls of a plane after her pilot husband falls unconscious.

Close

US Airways jet crash lands

Video from the Coast Guard shows the US Airways jet crash-landing into the Hudson River.

Close

Hole forces a Boeing 737 to land

CNN's Ted Rowlands reports on the Southwest flight that made an emergency landing because of a hole in the fuselage.

Close

Emergency landing in Poland

CNN's Hala Gorani reports on the LOT Polish Airlines flight that made an emergency landing in Warsaw, Poland.

April 5th, 2012
02:33 AM ET

Justice Department to sue Arizona sheriff after talks fall through

The Justice Department is preparing to sue Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, known internationally as "America's toughest sheriff," saying talks between the two sides have fallen through.

The Obama administration and Arpaio's Maricopa County Sheriff's Office had been in the midst of settlement talks, after the Justice Department accused it of systematically discriminating against Latinos.

As part of the settlement, the department wanted Arpaio to allow an independent monitor to oversee reforms at his office. The Justice Department called it a "key, non-negotiable requirement."

The two sides were scheduled to meet Wednesday, but Arpaio called off the meeting at the last minute, the Justice Department said.

"We believe that you are wasting time and not negotiating in good faith," said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Roy Austin Jr. in a letter Arpaio's legal counsel.

It added: "MCSO's refusal to engage in good faith negotiations requires us to prepare for civil action."

Arpaio shot back, saying he would not "surrender" his officer to the federal government.

"Appointment of an outside monitor essentially usurps the powers and duties of an elected Sheriff and transfers them to a person or group of persons selected by the federal government," he said in a statement Tuesday.

"And so to the Obama administration, who is attempting to strong arm me into submission only for its political gain, I say, 'This will not happen, not on my watch!'"

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Arizona • Joe Arpaio • World
February 23rd, 2012
08:55 AM ET

Seven Marines dead after Arizona helicopters collide

[Updated at 10:12 a.m. ET] Seven U.S. Marines have been killed in the midair collision of two U.S. military helicopters in southern Arizona, officials said Thursday.

The crash occurred during routine training operations late Wednesday at the Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Maj. Carl B. Redding, Jr. of the Marine Corps said in a statement.

The collision involved an AH-1W "Super Cobra" attack helicopter and a UH-1Y "Huey" utility chopper, which the military has long used for a variety of tasks. They were part of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.

Authorities were investigating the collision, which occurred in a remote area of a training range complex.

FULL STORY
February 23rd, 2012
01:40 AM ET

Truth Squad: Fact checking Wednesday's debate

CNN examines statements made by Republican presidential candidates during Wednesday night's CNN/Republican Party of Arizona debate in Mesa, Arizona.

Newt Gingrich criticized the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for characterizing Iran as a "rational actor" in international affairs and defending the possibility of preventing an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear sites

 The statement: "The fact is this is a dictator, Ahmadinejad, who has said he doesn't believe the Holocaust existed. This is a dictator who said he wants to eliminate Israel from the face of the Earth. This is a dictator who said he wants to drive the United States out of the Middle East. I'm inclined to believe dictators ... If you think a madman is about to have nuclear weapons, and you think that madman is going to use those nuclear weapons, then you have an absolute moral obligation to defend the lives of your people by eliminating the capacity to get nuclear weapons." FULL POST

February 20th, 2012
10:45 PM ET

CNN prime time: Avalanche survival, free plastic surgery for teachers

Close

Teachers nip, tuck for free

It’s a policy that’s been on the books in Buffalo, New York, for nearly 40 years: Free plastic surgery for teachers.

Close

Surviving an avalanche

On Sunday, she was tumbling down a mountainside, caught in a deadly avalanche. A look at how Elyse Saugstad lived to tell about it.

Close

Gay sheriff denies threatening lover

A scandal playing out in Arizona involves a sheriff with a bright political future, his ex-boyfriend, abuse of power allegations and the presidential race.

Post by:
Filed under: Arizona • CNN Prime Time • Gay and lesbian • Mitt Romney • Skiing
Arizona woman off ballot after high court agrees her English isn't good enough
Alejandrina Cabrera answers questions about her ability to speak English in Arizona's Yuma County Superior Court.
February 8th, 2012
12:31 PM ET

Arizona woman off ballot after high court agrees her English isn't good enough

A woman trying to run for the San Luis, Arizona, City Council will not appear on the ballot after the Arizona Supreme Court upheld a ruling that her English was not good enough.

Alejandrina Cabrera has been locked in a political battle regarding her proficiency in the English language.  But her story is more than a local election dispute, with possibly widespread implications in a country that prides itself as a melting pot.

In the border town of San Luis, 87% of residents speak a language other than English in their homes, and 98.7% are of Hispanic origin, according to 2010 U.S. census data.  Most of the people there, by all accounts, speak both English and Spanish.

“I think my English is good enough to hold public office in San Luis, Arizona,” Cabrera told CNN en Español in an interview conducted in Spanish.

“I am not going to help (at the White House). I will be helping here.”

FULL POST

City council hopeful: 'My English is good enough'
Alejandrina Cabrera answers questions about her ability to speak English in Yuma County Court.
January 30th, 2012
01:11 PM ET

City council hopeful: 'My English is good enough'

When a judge ruled that Alejandrina Cabrera’s name couldn’t be on the ballot for City Council in San Luis, Arizona, because she couldn’t speak English well enough, it was not only a blow to her, but to her fellow citizens, Cabrera told CNN.

“When he took my right to be on the ballot he took away the right of the people who want to vote for me,” Cabrera said in an interview conducted in Spanish with CNN en Español.

A battle over Cabrera's run for office began when Juan Carlos Escamilla, the mayor of San Luis, said he was concerned that Cabrera might not have the proper grasp of the language for the job. Escamilla filed a lawsuit in December that asked a court to determine whether Cabrera's skills qualified her under state law to run for the council seat.

The fight began as a purely political one, with opponents seeking to block her from running for office after she tried to recall Escamilla from office twice, according to The New York Times. But it has turned into a firestorm in a town where many constituents have the same grasp of English as Cabrera. Those questions, and the political fight they stirred, led to a court hearing to determine whether Cabrera spoke English well enough to be able to run for office. The ruling was that she did not.

The issues at the center of this debate: Just how much English must you understand to run for a political office? And what does it mean to be proficient?

According to a judge, you need to know more English than Cabrera was able to demonstrate.

But by Cabrera's account, she's fluent enough to serve her community, and she isn't running for national office.

“I think my English is good enough to hold public office in San Luis, Arizona,” she told CNN.

“I am not going to help (at the White House)," she added. "I will be helping here.”

FULL POST

Overheard on CNN.com: Pointing fingers getting out of hand?
President Obama had an intense encounter with Gov. Jan Brewer before joining his motorcade Wednesday in Arizona.
January 26th, 2012
01:46 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Pointing fingers getting out of hand?

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

The president is not well-liked in sections of Arizona. But when two politicians can't put aside a petty disagreement and get along socially ... it's sad.
–Portland tony

Lots of people are talking about an intense exchange between President Barack Obama and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on the tarmac in Arizona on Wednesday. A photo shows Brewer pointing her finger at Obama. The governor said the president brought up an unflattering description of him in her book, "Scorpions for Breakfast." Our readers (some claiming to be Arizonans) debated what went wrong in this exchange and advocated political civility.

Obama shares intense encounter with Arizona governor

"2012 is going to be a nasty year in politics," predicted commenter Monroe.

We saw some posts from people who were outraged by Brewer's actions.

Jon V: "Jan Brewer is a sad representation of Arizona. I am extremely disappointed she is our governor. What an embarrassment to have the governor of your state appearing to scold the president of the United States like he is one of her children. You can have disagreements with someone without ambushing him at the airport for a photo aimed at firing up her extreme Tea Party base. Pathetic."

But others said the finger-pointing scene is being misinterpreted and Obama should not have confronted Brewer about her book.

Dave: "It is a snapshot of a woman who talks with her hands. Besides, (Obama) was the one out of line. It was the wrong place and wrong time to bring it up. What he needed to be doing was taking notes on how to fix an economy because Arizona is on the upswing at a much greater pace than the U.S., like most states being run by fiscal conservatives."

Some had little sympathy for Brewer. FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Arizona • Barack Obama • Overheard on CNN.com • Politics • U.S.
Judge: Candidate's grasp of English is too poor for her to run for office
Alejandrina Cabrera answers questions about her ability to speak English in Yuma County Court.
January 26th, 2012
12:05 PM ET

Judge: Candidate's grasp of English is too poor for her to run for office

When Alejandrina Cabrera speaks English, it doesn't quite roll off of her tongue the way it does when she speaks in her native Spanish.

Instead of the confident, strong way she speaks in Spanish to the residents of San Luis, Arizona, she speaks a bit more slowly, and perhaps with a bit less conviction, when she switches to English. That's something she admits, but she says that she can communicate at the level she needs to in English, given where she lives.

In San Luis, 87% of residents speak a language other than English in their home and 98.7% are of Hispanic origin, according to 2010 U.S. Census data. After all, most of the people there, by all accounts, will speak in English and in Spanish. In the comfort of communal settings, they'll speak the way they're most comfortable.

“You go to a market, it’s Spanish,” Cabrera told The New York Times. “You go to a doctor, it’s Spanish. When you pay the bills for the lights or water, it’s Spanish.”

So why the focus on Cabrera and her language skills? Because when it comes to politics, it's a whole separate ballgame.

And that's why a major debate about English proficiency has taken the town by storm.

That's because when Cabrera threw her name in the hat to run for city council, Juan Carlos Escamilla, the mayor of San Luis, said he was concerned that she might not have the proper grasp of the language for the job. Escamilla filed a lawsuit in December that asked a court to determine if Cabrera's skills qualified her under state law to run for the council seat.

The fight began as a purely political one, with opponents seeking to block her from running for office after she tried to recall Escamilla from office twice, according to The New York Times. But it has turned into a firestorm in a town where many constituents have the same grasp of English as Cabrera.

The issues at the center of this debate: Just how much English must you understand to run for a political office? And what does it mean to be proficient?

FULL POST

November 28th, 2011
04:24 PM ET

Mother of missing Arizona girl released from custody

The mother of a missing 5-year-old Arizona girl has been let out of jail, police said Monday, a week after her arrest for alleged child abuse.

The Glendale, Arizona, police department said in a statement that it "has been notified the charge of child abuse (against) Jerice Hunter will not be filed, at this time, by the Maricopa County Attorney's Office," prompting the woman's release.

"This decision will allow the Glendale Police Department to follow up on new leads developed since the (November 21) arrest of Jerice Hunter, ... as well as complete forensic analysis of evidence," police said.

No other details were offered as to what spurred the decision.

But police did say, "The focus and direction of the investigation into the disappearance of Jhessye Shockley has not changed."

Last week, Glendale Police Sgt. Brent Coombs described Hunter as the "lone focus" in the investigation. He did not rule out that others might be involved.

Her young daughter allegedly wandered out of the family's Glendale home on October 11, unnoticed by her 13-, 9- and 6-year-old siblings who were supposed to be watching her, according to Hunter's account. The mother contacted police, saying that she did so after she couldn't find her daughter when she returned home from an errand.

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Arizona • Missing Children
« older posts
newer posts »