Arizona immigration law continues to be huge issue in gubernatorial race

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer gets endorsed by statewide police officers group.

Criticism of Arizona for enacting its new law targeting illegal immigration has become a political rallying cry, at least for some of its gubernatorial candidates.

In the latest pushback, Republican gubernatorial candidate Buz Mills has a new online ad that urges Arizonans to "stand up" for their state in the face of criticism from federal officials, civil rights activists and others denouncing the law and questioning its origin.

The ad posted late Wednesday night has snippets referring to bigots, racial profiling and Nazis.

IN PICTURES: The US/Mexico border

"Out of state groups who don't know Arizona are trying to tear us down — boycotts, smear campaigns trying to turn Arizona into something we are not," Mills tells the camera. "I don't know about you but I think it takes a lot of nerve to live outside our border and then criticize what we're doing to secure them."

Said Mills: "It's time to stand up for Arizona."

Mills is running in a five-way Republican primary on Aug. 24. Gov. Jan Brewer and State Treasurer Dean Martin also are in the race, as well as two lesser-known candidates, Tom Gordon and Matthew Jette.

Brewer previously already reacted to criticism of her and the state stemming from the new law, using her own online video to take shots at Obama administration officials who acknowledged not reading the law first before criticizing it.

"Reading helps you know what you're talking about," a singing puppet said in Brewer's online video that include shots of administration officials' congressional testimony when asked about the law.

On Thursday, a statewide police officers group endorsing Brewer cited her defense of the state.

Brewer has been "rock solid when it came to defending Arizona against the merciless and unwarranted attacks against the good name of and reputation of this state," said Brian Livingston, the Arizona Police Association's executive director.

The law takes effect July 29 unless blocked by a court. Five legal challenges are pending.

The law's provisions include a requirement that police investigating another crime ask a person about his or her immigration status if there's "reasonable suspicion" that the person is in the country illegally. It also makes being in the country illegally a misdemeanor under state law.

Critics contend the law will result in racial profiling and damage ties between police and minority communities. Supporters say the law is misunderstood and will be implemented fairly while increasing pressure on illegal immigrants to leave the state.

IN PICTURES: The US/Mexico border

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