ASU Police asks prosecutors to charge 4 people for Kyrsten Sinema bathroom protest

The Arizona State University Police Department has asked county prosecutors to charge four people with misdemeanors after a protest against U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema interrupted a class she was teaching and ended with an activist following her into a bathroom.

ASU police, Sinema's office and the Maricopa County Attorney's Office investigated the incident, said Adam Wolfe, spokesman for ASU Police Department.

The events involved members from a community group that has been pivotal in activating the Latino, working class and immigrant electorate in Arizona who showed up outside her classroom at ASU on Oct. 6. As they tried to talk to her, Sinema walked past them and went into a bathroom. One of the organizers with LUCHA followed her and spoke about her immigrant family.

The protester filmed the encounter, including in the bathroom.

Sinema, in a statement following the protest, said those who disrupted her class engaged in “unlawful activities," “deceptively entered a locked, secure building" and held a protest that “was not legitimate."

Wolfe declined to name the people who have been referred for charges.

“I don't want to overstep on the Maricopa County Attorney's Office and release names, because it's still being processed and if they choose to prosecute I don't want to interfere with that," he said.

Wolfe said all four people allegedly committed disorderly conduct and disruption of an educational institution, which are both misdemeanors. He said the investigation concluded within the past week.

Sinema's office didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. But Hannah Hurley, a spokesperson for her office, previously told the Arizona Mirror in an email that Sinema believed part of the actions taken by protestors were “inappropriate and illegal, because filming people in bathrooms without their permission is illegal in Arizona."

The charges referral didn't include violations of the state law barring surreptitious filming. That law applies only in cases where the victim is filmed “urinating, defecating, dressing, undressing, nude" or engaged in a sexual act.

LUCHA couldn't immediately be reached for comment.


Arizona Mirror is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Arizona Mirror maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Jim Small for questions: info@azmirror.com. Follow Arizona Mirror on Facebook and Twitter.

An activist confronted Kyrsten Sinema on a flight to ask for her support -- she got silence

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona ignored Karina Ruiz, a local leader who advocates for immigrant communities, when the activist approached her on a flight to Washington, D.C., Monday to urge the senator to commit to passing a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants.

In a video she posted on social media, Ruiz walked down the airplane aisle and stopped next to Sinema, who was sitting in an aisle seat with a laptop in front of her and wireless earbuds in her ears.

“I'm being vulnerable right now to you. My dad passed away last year, and he didn't get to reunite with my family. I don't want to disturb you, but at the same time, I want to see if I can get a commitment from you, Senator," Ruiz said.

Sinema sat silently, staring down.

“This is my life and the life of millions," Ruiz continued. “I'd just like to hear from you. Can we get a commitment from you to get a pathway to citizenship for millions like me?"

Sinema continued to sit silently, staring down.

“All right, Senator, you don't want to respond. Thank you for your time," Ruiz said, and walked away.

For years, Ruiz has pushed for different versions of federal legislation that would give thousands of immigrants like her, who arrived in the country at a young age, and her family a pathway to citizenship. Locally, as a leader of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition, Ruiz has worked to reform state laws that prevent undocumented students from accessing in-state tuition.

Recently, Ruiz has held rallies in Phoenix and traveled to D.C. several times to push Democrats to pass a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants. A plan in the Senate to do that through a budget process stalled.

For most of the year, groups locally and nationally have campaigned to get Sinema to take meaningful steps to pass legislation to expand voting rights, election reform and legislation that guarantees a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented youth, workers, farmerworks and adults. The recent meetings Sinema has taken with wealthy donors and corporate opponents of Joe Biden's Build Back Better plan has also drawn ire.

Over the weekend, a community group that has been pivotal in activating the Latino, working class and immigrant electorate in Arizona disrupted Sinema's fundraising event and showed up outside her classroom at Arizona State University on Sunday. As they tried to talk to her, Sinema walked past them and went into a bathroom. One of the organizers with LUCHA followed her and spoke about her immigrant family.

Sinema, in a statement, said those who disrupted her class engaged in “unlawful activities," “deceptively entered a locked, secure building" and held a protest that “was not legitimate."

Biden and Arizona's other senator, Mark Kelly, called the disruptive action at ASU that led activists to follow Sinema into the bathroom “inappropriate."

LUCHA said the group helped elect Sinema, who they said has been completely inaccessible to the public since her term in the Senate began in 2019.

“Sinema's constituents have not been granted access to her office, they have been ignored, dismissed and antagonized," said Alejandra Gomez and Tomas Robles, co-directors of LUCHA, in a statement.

Sinema declined to hold public town halls in Phoenix after the board of the Arizona Democratic Party suggested she did months ago, said Brianna Westbrook, education coordinator for AZ Dems, on Twitter.


Arizona Mirror is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Arizona Mirror maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Jim Small for questions: info@azmirror.com. Follow Arizona Mirror on Facebook and Twitter.

New poll finds broad support -- even among Trump voters -- for a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants

Arizona voters overwhelmingly support a pathway to citizenship for some immigrants who meet some conditions for eligibility, according to a poll released Wednesday.

The survey of 323 Arizona voters between Sept. 10 and 18 found broad support, even among Trump voters, for “earned citizenship" for undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children (often called dreamers), farmworkers, essential workers and those with Temporary Protected Status. Earned citizenship is a term that broadly means naturalization that is granted after immigrants pay a fine, pass language tests or other meet requirements to comply with eligibility.

It comes as Democrats in Congress struggle to pass a pathway for citizenship for millions, but not all, undocumented immigrants through the budget reconciliation process.

The poll was commissioned by the American Business Immigration Coalition and FWD.us, an immigration and criminal justice reform advocacy group, and released during a press call. The survey was conducted by Democratic polling firm BSP Research and Republican firm Shaw & Company Research. Arizona was one of 11 battleground states polled.

Rep. Greg Stanton, D-Ariz., spoke at the press event. He said Arizona is home to an estimated 170,000 undocumented residents who are dreamers, farmworkers and TPS holders.

“No state stands to benefit more from immigration modernization than my home state of Arizona," Stanton said. “It's clear to me that Americans, regardless of political affiliation, are demanding immigration reform. It's up to us to deliver."

Stanton, who supported the House version of the reconciliation package that includes a pathway to citizenship for some immigrants, called on other Democrats in Congress and the White House to end the paralysis in the Senate.

GOP pollster Daron Shaw, of Shaw & Company Research, said conservatives have supported a pathway to citizenship for certain kinds of undocumented immigrants for a long time.

The poll also showed that, when considering the economic contributions of some immigrants with no permanent status in Arizona, the majority of voters support a path to citizenship for dreamers, farmworkers, and essential workers.

Majorities of Trump supporters and self-described conservatives backed a pathway to citizenship. Among Trump voters, 61% support a pathway to citizenship for dreamers, 58% for farmworkers and 50% for essential workers who are undocumented. Those polled who identified as conservatives support citizenship by 66% for dreamers, 59% for farmworkers and 56% for essential workers. Overall, nearly 4 out of 5 Arizona voters supported this pathway.

Democratic pollster Matt Barreto, a principal at BSP Research, said Arizona voters have changed significantly from the late 2000s, when anti-immigrant sentiment was at its height in the state. Barreto said the poll showed a majority of Arizona voters don't want to see the removal of undocumented immigrants and they understand that undocumented immigrants contribute to the economy.

“They can relate to the immigrants they work with in their communities," he said.

The poll also showed most Arizona voters polled support Democrats taking action now even without Republican votes of support, Barreto said.

“Simply put, Arizona voters are tired of inaction and are ready for reforms they believe will benefit small businesses and the economy as a whole," the pollsters concluded in their analysis of the results.

The poll found over 60% of Arizona voters say immigrant laws and regulations are not working.

“Voters don't believe the system is working well, (and) it's been a 20-30 year issue," Barreto said. “Now we have an opportunity here."

Alejandra Gomez, co-executive director of Living United for Change Arizona, said the poll also signals what community members who talk with voters have known for years: that “being anti-immigrant no longer provides a viable path to victory."

“(The poll) further validates the fact that immigration is no longer an issue among conservatives because most are in support of a pathway to citizenship," she said.

Gomez said the poll should send a message to U.S. Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly that their constituents want them to pass a pathway to citizenship.

“This poll perfectly illustrates that, at the end of the day, Arizonans are not worried about Senate rules and procedures, they grow weary of the centrists in Congress conducting performative and self-defeating theatre," she said. “Positioning yourselves a few steps closer to the center no matter the cost despite the reality of public opinion to prove a point is not a winning strategy."

Arizona Mirror is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Arizona Mirror maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Jim Small for questions: info@azmirror.com. Follow Arizona Mirror on Facebook and Twitter.

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