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Wisconsin Aside, Arizona is the Final Showdown Over American Dream

A gun-toting anti-immigrant activist convicted of murdering a 9-year-old girl received the death penalty in Arizona this afternoon. Not that anyone around the state capitol had time to take notice. While huge protests against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's anti-union budget continue to galvanize progressive ranks across the country, including a clarion call by Van Jones for an "American Dream movement," Arizona's radical Tea Party-controlled legislature has taken the battle over immigrant rights to a new extreme. Forget about state unions and teachers: Arizona's radical anti-union/faux right-to-work state leaders are now going after children. And cars. It may be 1,700 miles away from Madison--and the national news media--but the final showdown over the American Dream is taking place in Phoenix, Arizona. As the bellwether state of rebellion, Arizona is far from only being a punch line on comedy TV shows as the "meth lab of democracy." Conservative states across the country, including Wisconsin, are watching Arizona; the borderlands state's once ridiculed actions are suddenly turning into the blueprint for legislatures from Alaska to Alabama. With arguably the nation's worst structural deficit, and despite the indisputable fact of plunging crime rates and border arrests and ramped up federal border patrols, Arizona's radical right has introduced a blockbuster "omnibus immigration" bill that would blatantly challenge a US Supreme Court ruling and deny K-12 education access to undocumented children. In a reference to Arizona's draconian anti-immigrant legislation introduced last year, Arizona Republic columnist E.J. Montini calls its "SB 1070 on steroids." That's just for starters. Perhaps in a gesture to Arizona's impeached right-wing governor and car salesman Evan Mecham, the bill would also seize cars from any undocumented immigrants. Another bill, SB 1405, would require medical facilities to determine citizenship before providing care. The "Super Tuesday" bills are being taken up less than two weeks since the state of Arizona brought a suitagainst the Obama administration for failing to halt an "invasion" of undocumented immigrants. Despite backpedaling on heroutrageous claims of beheadingsin the Arizona deserts, Brewer's unyielding anti-immigrant rhetoric continues to resonate across the state today. Convicted of murdering 9-year-old Brisenia Flores and her father in a small ranching town south of Tucson, Washington-state transplant and anti-immigrant activist Shawna Fordewas sentenced to the death penaltytoday. The Arizona legislature, meanwhile, considered a bill that would prevent undocumented immigrants from obtaining any legal damages in court from attacks.