National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America


Arizona Historic Recall Election: A Referendum on Divisive Immigration Politics

November 09, 2011


Washington, D.C. – In a historic recall election, Arizona voters ousted State Senator Russell Pearce, the notorious architect of Arizona’s draconian immigration law SB1070.  Pearce built a national reputation as a longtime crusader against illegal immigration offering tough and controversial immigration measures that even the Arizona Republic referred to as “SB1070 on steroids”. 


Pearce was one of the most powerful politicians in Arizona. Citizens in the very conservative district elected him six straight times. In a monumental upset, Jerry Lewis defeated Russell Pearce with a decisive margin of 53% to 46% thanks in part to a motivated Latino electorate that consolidated the victory for Jerry Lewis.


Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum stated, “The defeat of Russell Pearce sends a loud and clear message that American voters are tired of politicians exploiting the immigration issue for cheap political points instead of focusing on real solutions to our immigration system. This historic recall election brought together Americans from all political stripes who stood against Pearce’s fear mongering. Politicians across the nation should heed the lesson from Arizona: demonizing immigrants is not a winning strategy.”




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