Schumer asks Arizona bill author what an illegal immigrant dresses like

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With the Supreme Court scheduled to hear a challenge to Arizona's controversial immigration law today, Senator Chuck Schumer sought to draw some extra attention to the bill yesterday in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

Schumer failed to coax Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to defend the bill, SB1070, on Capitol Hill, settling instead for Russell Pearce, one of the bill's primary authors, who served as a state senator before being recalled by voters in 2011.

Only three senators showed up for the hearing, all Democrats, and Schumer thanked Pearce for showing up, despite being "outnumbered."

Pearce seemed happy to answer the questions, and was unflustered even when Schumer pressed him on some enforcement guidelines for the law.

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"The one that arouses my curiosity and bothers me is 'dress,'" Schumer said. "What does an illegal immigrant dress like?"

Pearce said it was "part of a list of things that raise questions," and he said the bill had the overwhelming support of people across the country, not just Republicans.

Schumer, in calling attention to the issue and promising legislation to block the law if the court doesn't strike it down, is betting against Pearce's polling and hoping the law rallies Latino support for Democrats.

Republicans denounced the hearing as "political theater," and at least one observer thought Schumer's colleague, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, outperformed him.

Here's the exchange: