Opponents of Arizona's hard-line immigration enforcement law are using emails sent by a former state senator who championed the law to support allegations it was racially motivated.
The American Civil Liberties Union obtained thousands of Russell Pearce's emails through a public records request.
They're part of a new legal effort by civil rights groups to block police from enforcing the Arizona law's so-called "show me your papers" provision recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Arizona Republic reports that the emails -- which include messages sent to and from Pearce -- blur lines between undocumented immigrants and Hispanics in general. The ACLU says the emails show a striking hostility toward the Hispanic population. The ACLU is including the emails in a court request asking U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton to block parts of SB 1070 from taking effect.
A spokesman for Gov. Jan Brewer says the arguments won't succeed in court.
Pearce on Friday did not immediately return messages from The Associated Press seeking comment.
According to the Arizona Republic, the Pearce emails say such things as "Can we maintain our social fabric as a nation with Spanish fighting English for dominance ... It's like importing leper colonies and hope we don't catch leprosy. It's like importing thousands of Islamic jihadists and hope they adapt to the American Dream...Tough, nasty illegals and their advocates grow in such numbers that law and order will not subdue them. They run us out of our cities and states. They conquer our language and our schools. They render havoc and chaos in our schools...We are much like the Titanic as we inbreed millions of Mexico's poor, the world's poor and we watch our country sink."
The newspaper also adds that the emails include statistics such as "9,000 people killed every year by illegal aliens," and "the illegal aliens in the United States have a crime rate that's two-and-a-half times that of non-illegal aliens."
The newspaper cautioned: "While all the e-mails were sent from Pearce's personal or legislative e-mail address, it is unclear if they were all his own words or if some of the statements were taken without attribution from other individuals."
The National Coalition for Immigrant Women’s Rights said in a statement: “These emails shockingly reveal a deep-seated bias toward all immigrants. The language is vitriolic, bigoted."