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By Farai Chideya

When Arizona governor Jan Brewer signed SB-1070, a bill that required local police officers to enforce federal immigration law, Arizona became the flash point for a national debate about how best to deal with illegal immigration. On July 28th, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton blocked key provision of the law from taking effect.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit Court in San Francisco is set to hear oral arguments on Monday in a case brought by the U.S. Justice Department against Arizona.

The number of immigrants arrested for illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border has steadily declined from over 600,000 people a year in 2000, to around 200,000 this year, a drop in 17% from last year. In spite of the decline, the issue of illegal immigration loomed large as the Pop and Politics team arrived in Phoenix in late September. Our first stop: a jail in the desert outside of Phoenix.

Pop and Politics with Farai Chideya is a series of three radio specials about the 2010 midterm elections. These specials will be heard on public radio stations around the country in late October and early November. Check your local public radio station or go to www.popandpolitics.com for more information.

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