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Phillip Maldonado, a squad leader with the Granite Mountain Hotshots, helps crew member learn the finer points of setting up emergency fire shelters. Training is key as the crew prepares for what’s expected to be a busy wildfire season.

Firefighters working in remote locations to get ahead of the most dangerous sections of fires rely on hard training to stay out of perilous situations. Members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, of whom 19 were killed Sunday fighting a wildfire near Yarnell, had never had to use emergency shelters when they received training in 2012. Read more» 1

Under state law, English-language learners must a year of immersion in English classes, but state officials have expanded that to include any ELL student for as long as they’re in the program.

Vince Yanez understands what the Arizona Board of Education could be getting in to this year when it begins a “systematic review” of the state’s English Language Learner program, Structured English Immersion, a state-mandated program that puts non-English-speaking students into English class for four hours a day. Read more»

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Glendale, said it’s time for a constitutional amendment to protect the rights of victims, who scarcely have the protections that criminals get. Others say the goal is admirable, but a law would be a better solution than an amendment.

An Arizona congressman and the Maricopa County attorney say the U.S. Constitution should be amended to protect the rights of crime victims. Read more» 1

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the comprehensive immigration-reform bill introduced in the Senate last week.

Skeptical senators Tuesday challenged Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on how her department plans to provide a “meaningful” border-security figure, which is the key to a route to citizenship for immigrants here illegally. Read more»

Arizona Sens. Jeff Flake, left, and John McCain were two of the eight senators in the bipartisan 'Gang of 8' who drafted a sweeping immigration reform bill that was introduced this week. One part of that bill calls for increased border-crossing prosecutions in Tucson.

The comprehensive immigration reform bill unveiled in the Senate this week includes language calling for a tripling of the number of border-crossing prosecutions in the U.S. Border Patrol’s Tucson sector. Read more»

McCain called the 800-page immigration reform bill proposed by a bipartisan group of senators a 'fair, comprehensive and practical solution' to a difficult problem.

A bipartisan group of eight senators unveiled an 800-page immigration reform bill Thursday, calling it a “fair, comprehensive and practical solution” to a difficult problem. Read more» 1

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., at podium with three of the other 'Gang of 8' senators in January: From left, Dick Durbin, D-Ill., John McCain, R-Ariz., and Bob Menendez, D-N.J.

There will be a path to citizenship for immigrants in this country illegally but not before the border is secure, under a bipartisan Senate bill expected to be filed this week. An outline of the immigration reform bill proposed by the so-called “Gang of 8″ calls for billions more for border security, changes in visa laws, stricter enforcement of laws against hiring illegal immigrants and a pathway to lawful residence in 10 years and, later, citizenship. Read more» 3

National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd, shown at a hearing earlier this week, said Friday his union would be willing to give up time-and-a-half overtime pay in order to avoid furloughs.

Border Patrol agents would be willing to give up time-and-a-half overtime pay if it meant they would not have to be furloughed as part of mandated federal spending cuts, their union president testified Friday. Read more» 1

National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd, who previously worked in the Tucson sector, told lawmakers Thursday that sequestration cuts now would be coming at the worst possible time for border security.

Border Patrol agents told House members and congressional staffers Thursday that this is the worst possible time to cut the agency’s budget as the country clamors for immigration reform that includes a secure border. Read more»

A rally urging comprehensive immigration reform drew advocates and immigrants from across the country to Washington.

Advocates and immigrants from Arizona were among thousands who came to Washington on Wednesday to rally at the Capitol in support of comprehensive immigration reform. Read more» 1

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park near Payson is one of 30 parks in that Arizona State Parks system.

Arizona State Parks has hired a consultant to explore whether a single concessionaire for all 30 state parks would save money, offsetting several years of deep budget reductions. Read more»

The Episcopal bishop for Arizona joined several religious and union leaders urging that family-unification policies be included in any comprehensive immigration reform legislation. The call came as federal lawmakers continued work on a comprehensive immigration reform bill. Read more»

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano administers the oath of citizenship to members of the military at a special White House ceremony on July 4, 2012.

Only 36 percent of Mexican immigrants who are eligible to become United States citizens are taking steps to do so, a much lower rate than immigrants from other countries, according to a recent study. Read more» 2

The University of Arizona study interviewed more than 1,100 deportees all along the U.S. Southwest border in Mexico, shortly after their deportations. The study covered six years of interviews.

The nation’s current immigration policy is breaking up families and not deterring repeat border crossers, according to a University of Arizona study, which called for those factors to be addressed in any immigration reform. Read more»

Crowds were markedly smaller for the second day of hearings on same-sex marriage laws than those who showed up a day earlier for the first day of the historic hearings.

There were fewer protesters for the second day of historic Supreme Court hearings on same-sex marriage laws, but the crowds still filled the foot of the Supreme Court's steps, where they waved flags, chanted and held up signs for their cause. Rulings could come sometime this summer. Read more»

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