Arizona was once tolerant of illegal immigrants. What happened? - latimes.com
"The perfect storm occurred," said Mesa Mayor Scott Smith. "There was a combination of demographic changes, the introduction of a criminal element that didn't used to be here and the drop in the economy, which has put everyone on edge.
"Now just about every prominent Republican here, including Sens. Jon Kyl and John McCain, backs SB 1070 and opposes legalization for illegal immigrants. Mexican governors refuse to set foot on Arizona soil. SB 1070 author Russell Pearce, a lawmaker formerly dismissed by many as an extremist, is poised to become president of the state Senate.
"The anger is palpable and measurable by candidates for office," said Stan Barnes, a former Republican state senator and veteran lobbyist. "Anyone who wants to hold elected office here will first be questioned on it."