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Government, Politics & Issues

Anti-immigration group still has Martinez in its sights

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 18, 2009 - Opponents of Linda Martinez, now head of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, are renewing their efforts to probe the circumstances surrounding her appointment by Gov. Jay Nixon and her subsequent confirmation by the state Senate.

A St. Louis-based group called Missourians Against Illegal Immigration said today that it had "sent another letter to Governor Jay Nixon’s deputy general counsel seeking the opportunity to review emails and documents from Nixon Chief of Staff John Watson regarding the controversial appointment of illegal immigration supporter Linda Martinez to head the Department of Economic Development."

"All we have asked to is to see exactly what was going on with Mr. John Watson during the time that he was promoting Ms. Martinez” said Janet Renner, president of the anti-immigration group.

“As Chief of Staff to Governor Nixon, Watson met with various officials and called others. We have asked to review these public records and are now being told that we must pay for that privilege. In this week, Sunshine Law Week across America, we are asking Governor Nixon to grant us access to these public documents without charge.”

Opponents of illegal immigration had sought to block Martinez's confirmation because of her role in 2007 as a lead lawyer against some stiff illegal immigration ordinances in Valley Park. Those ordinances were eventually tossed out in court.

Renner's group notes that three of its St. Louis area Senate allies -- Sens. Jane Cunningham of west St. Louis County, Jim Lembke of Lemay and Scott Rupp of St. Charles County -- had voted against Martinez' confirmation in February.

Martinez and Nixon's staff emphasized at the time that she was committed to enforcing all of Missouri's anti-immigration laws.

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