WASHINGTON - Governor Jan Brewer Monday cited a Fox News poll claiming overwhelming support nationwide for Arizona's controversial immigration bill, SB 1070.
The poll results, released Friday, say nationwide, Americans support the law by a margin of 65 to 31 percent.
"The more people look at SB 1070, the more they like it," Brewer said in a released statement.
Brewer and other state officials are converging on Washington this week as the US Supreme Court is set to hear arguments stemming from a legal challenge to SB 1070.
Just hours before the law was set to take effect in July 2010, federal judge Susan Bolton issued an injunction striking down five key provisions of the law, including one requiring local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration law when "practical." Bolton's ruling was upheld on appeal, leading to the showdown at the high court Wednesday.
Despite Brewer's claim that support for SB 1070 is stronger than ever, critics point to several factors which may indicate support for a hard line on immigration is waning:
--The recall of State Senate President Russell Pearce in November 2011. Pearce sponsored SB1070, and those who led the recall effort said his laser focus on immigration issues was one reason he was ousted.
--The failure of new immigration legislation. Before his ouster, Pearce and his supporters introduced five new immigration bills in the 2011 session, including bills which would have denied citizenship rights to American-born children of illegal immigrants. None of the bills passed, and some Republican lawmakers joined Democrats in voting them down.
--The rise of Latino voting power. The National Association of Latino elected officials projects a 23 percent increase in the number of Latinos voting in 2012 over 2008.
Despite the protest and sharp criticism, supporters are boldly predicting the high court will overturn lower court rulings and allow SB 1070 to take effect.
"I predict a 5-3 win," Russell Pearce told ABC15 last week.
Pearce believes Justice Anthony Kennedy, a swing vote on a court split by four conservatives and four liberal justices, will side with conservatives in supporting SB 1070.
Kennedy voted with the majority in upholding Arizona's Employer Sanctions law. Some legal observers suggest the arguments are similar in the case of SB 1070.
Pearce, and State Senator Steve Gallardo, a staunch critic of SB 1070, are scheduled to testify before a senate judiciary subcommittee a day before the high court hears oral arguments.
Pearce tells ABC15 he'll tell Arizona's "success story." He believes the bill led to the exodus of some 200,000 illegal immigrants from Arizona since 2008.
Gallardo said the bill has polarized the state, made Arizona a "laughing stock" in much of the country, and resulted in hundreds of millions in lost business through boycotts and canceled conventions.
Meantime protesters are expected to be out in force in Washington, D.C., converging on the Supreme Court building as oral arguments are heard on Wednesday at 7 a.m. Arizona time. The court is expected to rule sometime this summer.