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Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and top Republican legislators blasted Arizona municipalities for going to court to challenge the constitutionality of parts of a budget law, including provisions that deny government services and benefits to illegal immigrants.

The lawsuit filed by the League of Arizona Cites and Towns amounts to siding "with lawbreakers over lawkeepers," said Sen. Russell Pearce, a Mesa Republican who championed the provisions targeting illegal immigration.

Pearce appeared with Brewer, Senate President Bob Burns and House Speaker Kirk Adams at a news conference on Tuesday, one day after the league's lawsuit asked the Arizona Supreme Court to overturn multiple sections of the budget law, which lawmakers passed in August and Brewer signed Sept. 4.

The governor said it was "outrageous and shocking" that the league would challenge the budget law and its immigration provisions "at a time when Arizona is suffering from budget deficits of unprecedented proportions and the state is struggling to meet the basic needs of its citizens."

The illegal immigration section toughened existing prohibitions on providing services or benefits to illegal immigrants. It also makes it a misdemeanor for a state or local government employee to fail to report immigration law violations detected while administering a public benefit or service, and it allows anyone to sue the state or local governments to enforce the prohibitions.


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