With the scrawl of a pen, GOP Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona awakened the dormant but explosive issue of illegal immigration, sending shock waves across the political spectrum in an election year when both parties had hoped to sidestep the topic.
Two months after Brewer signed a law instructing police to demand proof of a questionable person's legal status, voters have refocused on a topic that had faded into the background after Congress failed to overhaul the immigration system in 2007.
Protests have flared. Lawsuits have followed. Arizona boycotts are under way. More than 20 states are discussing similar efforts.
Polls again put border security and immigration among voters' top concerns.
"It's not just a problem in Arizona; it's a problem everywhere. People are just furious," Gary Widemann says of illegal immigration. "Something needs to be done."