Tired of Right-Wing Extremism? Some Arizonans Want to Secede

| Thu Feb. 24, 2011 11:22 AM EST

Arizona is charging ahead with legislation to crack down on illegal immigrants in the state. As I reported last month, legal mastermind Kris Kobach—who helped author the state's sweeping 2010 immigration law—has spearheaded a new push to repeal birthright citizenship at the state level. This week, the Arizona Senate appropriations committee approved a bill doing just that, becoming the country's first state legislative panel to support overturning birthright citizenship. The committee also passed a bill that would prohibit "undocumented children from attending public or private schools and colleges and universities, bar illegal immigrants from buying or driving a car and forbid them from getting a marriage certificate in the state," Politico reports

It's unclear whether such extreme measures will become law in Arizona—and even if they do, they could end up in the same legal limbo as Arizona's anti-immigration law. But as Arizona legislators continue their push rightward on immigration, health care, and a host of other issues, some residents are beginning to chafe under their leadership—and consider their own radical alternatives. 

In Arizona's Pima County along the southern border, a group of attorneys—including the former chair of the county's Democratic Party as well as a self-described Libertarian—has created a political committee aimed to help southern Arizona secede from the rest of the state. According to the Facebook page for "Save Our State," the group's goal is "to establish a new state in Southern Arizona free of the un-American, unconstitutional machinations of the Arizona legislature and to restore our region's credibility as a place welcoming to others, open to commerce, and friendly to its neighbors." The group's members say their effort is no joke, reports the Arizona Daily Star:

But Paul Eckerstrom, co-chair of Save Our State…said the state Legislature has gone too far to the right. In particular, a round of legislative measures challenging federal supremacy "really does border on them saying they don't want to be part of the Union any longer," he said…

The group's treasurer, Libertarian and public defender David Euchner…said Republicans were swept into office nationwide on a promise of helping to fix the economic and spending problems. "Meanwhile, every bill we've heard about here is either anti-abortion laws or anti-Mexican laws. These are not laws that are geared toward solving the real problems that we have."

The odds of their effort succeeding, of course, are dim indeed. The group is having trouble even getting the county board of supervisors to put their proposal on the ballot—much less winning the approval from the state legislature, Congress, and the president. But it's certainly an attention-grabbing proposal.

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