The conservative line for those who bother to defend Arizona for their harsh immigration law is that the state merely wants to deal with a metastasizing problem in their backyard, and that the idea this is racially motivated is absurd. One marvels at how they’ll incorporate this new information into that analysis.

Today, the Wall Street Journal reports that the Arizona Department of Education “recently began telling school districts that teachers whose spoken English it deems to be heavily accented or ungrammatical must be removed from classes for students still learning English”:

State education officials say the move is intended to ensure that students with limited English have teachers who speak the language flawlessly. But some school principals and administrators say the department is imposing arbitrary fluency standards that could undermine students by thinning the ranks of experienced educators. [...]

“This is just one more indication of the incredible anti-immigrant sentiment in the state,” said Bruce Merrill, a professor emeritus at Arizona State University who conducts public-opinion research.

In addition, yesterday Arizona’s legislature passed a bill outlawing ethnic studies programs at public high schools, a bill targeted at one school district in Tuscon and their Mexican-American studies department.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who runs what amounts to a concentration camp in Maricopa County, and who was a main driver behind the “Papers please!” law, is running for Governor, according to published reports. And he can win a Republican primary.

Now, if he’s the nominee on the GOP ticket, one of two things happens. Either Latinos turn out at unprecedented levels to defeat him, threatening the entire ticket including John McCain, or Arpaio begins to systematically lock up every Latino in sight prior to the election, purging voting rolls in Maricopa, etc. Point being, we’re very close to, as the above-linked story in Mother Jones puts it, “the first breakaway republic in the new confederacy of Inner America.”