State immigration bill defense fund gets financial boost

Posted: Saturday, July 31, 2010 5:00 am

PHOENIX -- The state's legal setback over the new immigration law has resulted in a bit of a financial outpouring of sympathy for the state.

Figures obtained Friday show that 1,755 people made donations online on Wednesday to the fund set up by Gov. Jan Brewer to help pay the state's cost of defending SB1070 against seven separate legal challenges. That was the day U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton enjoined the state from implementing key provisions of the law.

All totaled, they gave more than $75,000 that day.

By contrast, only 69 donations were made online the prior day totaling only $3,350.

The burst of support continued Thursday, with the governor's office reporting 1,129 online donations by 5:30 p.m. that day for a total of $48,180. And that was hours before the governor, in a live interview on the Greta Van Sustern show on Fox, mentioned the web site and asked viewers to send money.

Donations now top $1.6 million, with all but about $250,000 of that from the web site.

That includes one donation of $10,000. The governor's office did not immediately provide an identity of the contributor.

There also was a single $5,000 donation, one of $3,000, two of $2,000 and 40 people each gave $1,000.

The last time there was such a big outpouring came in the days after the U.S. Department of Justice decided to file its own lawsuit against the state. It was that lawsuit that resulted in Bolton's ruling on Thursday.

Brewer's next step is to try to get the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to dissolve the injunction which keeps the state from implementing several provisions. These include requiring police to check the immigration status of those they have stopped if there is "reasonable suspicion' the person is an illegal immigrant, and mandating immigration checks on all those who have been arrested before they can be released.

The governor said Arizona needs to start enforcing the entire law to cut down on the number of illegal immigrants in the state. She said Arizona lawmakers had no choice but to approve SB 1070 because of the failure of the federal government to secure the border.

How much the legal battle has cost so far is not known.

The governor's office has released the details of only the first bill it got from the private law firm Brewer hired using the authority given to her by state lawmakers to direct the defense of the controversial law.

That bill for $77,136,58, however, represents only the work done by Snell & Wilmer during the last 11 days in May.

No invoices have been released for subsequent work leading up to the three separate hearings on the requests for injunctions.

What is known is that John Bouma, the lead attorney, is billing the state $450 an hour, with lesser amounts for other attorneys at the firm.

Top locations for donors

State / total donors / total amount

Arizona / 5,087 / $269,287

California / 4,410 / $201,484

Texas / 2,670 / $133,724

Florida / 1,677 / $77,687

New York / 962 / $37,336

Washington / 741 / $35,315

Colorado / 761 / $33,831

Virginia / 716 / $33,566

Georgia / 712 / $32,546

Illinois / 743 / $31,895

-- Source: Governor's Office

Figures represent donations made through Internet site as of 5:30 p.m. Thursday

Posted in State-and-regional on Saturday, July 31, 2010 5:00 am Updated: 11:42 pm. ... 6a3fb.html