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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Republican Senators Boycott Hearing on Arizona Immigration Law

Republican senators boycott hearing on Ariz. immigration lawBy Jordy Yager- 04-24-12 12:46 PM ETRepublicans on Tuesday boycotted a Democratic-led subcommittee hearing on Arizona’s controversial immigration bill.Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the ranking member of the subcommittee, called the hearing “election-year theater.” He said it would do nothing to further attempts at reforming the country’s immigration system. “This is not an attempt at having a sincere hearing on the merits," Cornyn said in a statement. "Unfortunately, the Democrat majority seems to have embraced President Obama's ‘maƱana’ approach to immigration reform.” Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) also said the hearing was “strictly political theater” aimed at garnering publicity and trying to influence Wednesday’s oral arguments before the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the state measure. “I will not participate in today’s hearing because it is strictly political theater,” Kyl said in a statement. “The timing of the hearing just one day ahead of the Supreme Court’s review of the law suggests that its purpose is either to influence the court’s decision or to garner publicity." Kyl blasted Democrats on the committee for not conferring with their Republican colleagues before slating the hearing, which was called by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “[It] further demonstrates that it is intended to be more of a spectacle than a forum for learning anything useful for policymaking,” Kyl said. Former Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce (R), the architect of the controversial law, testified before the subcommittee on Tuesday and said none of the Republican senators had told him about their plans to not attend the hearing. Pearce said he was “disappointed” that they didn’t show up. None of the subcommittee’s other Republicans, including Sens. Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Orrin Hatch (Utah) or Jeff Sessions (Ala.), attended Tuesday’s hearing. Schumer and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) were the only Democratic members to attend. Sens. Patrick Leahy (Vt.), the chairman of the committee, Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Al Franken (Minn.) and Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) also did not show up. Schumer and Durbin took turns peppering Pearce, former Sen. Dennis DeConcini (D-Ariz.), and Arizona state Sen. Steve Gallardo (D), with questions about the statute for nearly two hours. The hearing was entitled “Examining the Constitutionality and Prudence of State and Local Governments Enforcing Immigration Law.”

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