by Geoff Dornan
RC Capital Bureau

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June 18, 2010
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Hispanic leaders challenge Arizona-style immigration petition

A group of Southern Nevada Democrats and businessmen have filed in Carson District Court to block the Arizona-style anti-immigration petition.

The challenge was filed by the Nevada Open For Business Coalition. It says the initiative petition is "a grab bag of measures" claiming to support enforcement of federal immigration laws. The coalition challenge charges the proposed ballot question violates Nevada's law requiring initiative petitions to contain only one subject.

"It embraces numerous subjects - everything from enacting voter identification laws to creating task forces and advisory boards and to criminalizing the stopping of a vehicle to pick up passengers for work," the coalition states.

"The petition is an election-year mash-up of an Arizona anti-immigration measure... and a recent Indiana voter identification law, itself a foolish solution to an in-person voting fraud problem that does not exist."

The petition would require everyone to carry citizen registration documents, cut aliens off from public benefits, create a gang intelligence fund, increase penalties for smuggling people, make it illegal for anyone to pick up temporary or day workers and create a committee to study employer sanctions for hiring illegals among other things.

Opponents also argue the proposed petition violates Nevada law by not clearly and fully stating the effect it would have.

They ask District Judge James Wilson to prohibit the Secretary of State's office from putting the question on the November ballot.

The coalition is led by Nevada Assembly members Mo Denis and Ruben Kihuen, both Las Vegas Democrats. But Denis said the challenge is "a broad effort of a wide variety of business, gaming, labor and other community interests."

He said the coalition members believe the petition would have devastating economic consequences for the state. He said the Arizona anti-immigrant law has already cost that state nearly $100 million in lost revenue.

"We cannot afford that in Nevada," he said. "Every one of us would feel the economic impact of boycotts and lost business, something our state can ill afford in these challenging times."

The petition was filed by a group headed by Republican Assemblyman Chad Christensen.

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The Record Courier Updated Jun 18, 2010 09:45PM Published Jun 18, 2010 09:42PM Copyright 2010 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.