Recalled Anti-Immigrant Lawmaker Russell Pearce Barred From Two Mexican Restaurants

Russell Pearce

Former Arizona state Senate President Russell Pearce, the sponsor of Arizona’s harsh immigration law SB 1070, was barred last week from hosting fundraising events in two Mexican restaurants. Pearce was recalled from office last November and the fundraising events were a part of his new bid for Senate.

The fundraising event was originally supposed to be held at Macayo’s Restaurant. But DeeDee Garcia Blase, a co-founder of a Latino organization called the Tequila Party, called Macayo’s and organized a protest of the event, convincing the restaurant to bar Pearce from using the space. Pearce then tried to moved his party to Oaxa Restuarante y Cantina, but was met with similar news:

Within hours, Oaxaca also cancelled Pearce’s event. Joseph Aguayo, the restaurant’s manager, told Arizona Capitol Times he did so after Garcia Blase contacted him and told him the event, which she said was registered under a different name, was actually to help Pearce raise money in his bid to return to the Senate after being recalled last year.

“We don’t need that,” Aguayo said. “We want to keep the support of our Latino community.”

Garcia Blase said that Pearce is trying to hold his fundraiser at Mexican restaurants for purely political reasons.

They’re doing it to make a mockery of Latinos. It’s to make them appear Latino-friendly,” she said.

Finally, Pearce turned to a local high school but was refused access because he had asked “too late in the day.”

SB 1070, which is currently pending before the Supreme Court, requires that police officers with “reasonable suspicion” check the immigration status of an individual during traffic stops, empowers police to arrest individuals they believe are likely to be deportable, and makes “it a state crime to violate federal immigration registration and employment requirements.” Pearce’s recall, which made him the first legislative presiding officer to be recalled from office in American history, “centered on his authorship of the immigration law.”

Briana Rodriquez, a manager of Oaxaca Restaurante, explained the restaurant’s decision to bar Pearce, saying, “I don’t know why they’re trying to have it at a Mexican restaurant…But we serve the Latino community. Most of our staff is Latino. And we do not support SB 1070. It would be an insult to our ancestors to allow them to come here.”

-Nina Liss-Schultz