An anti-immigrant activist has filed a lawsuit falsely claiming that Arizona state Rep.-elect Raquel Terán isn’t qualified to hold public office because she is “not a legal citizen of the United States.”
The lawsuit, which cites no evidence for the claim, was filed by Alice Novoa on Monday in Maricopa County Superior Court. Terán has a U.S. birth certificate, according to court records from a similar lawsuit that Novoa filed against her in 2012.
Terán, D-Phoenix, was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in Tuesday’s midterm elections. She posted on social media Thursday night to protest the lawsuit after she said she was served with the papers at home.
“This is obviously upsetting, but not surprising,” Terán wrote in a widely shared Facebook post. “It is just another attempt to silence me and the community I fight for. #bringit”
Terán, alongtime activist who clashedwith former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio over his hard-line immigration practices, plans to hold a 1 p.m. press conference at the state Capitol to address the lawsuit.
She released a press statement calling the case “an example of the anti-immigrant climate in our state and country designed to exclude rather than include people like me, and we don’t want this to happen to anyone else.”
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Novoa, a perennial Republican candidate and conspiracy theorist, has alleged there’s a secret plot by immigrants to recapture the southwestern United States for Mexico.
She unsuccessfully ran as a write-in candidate for Arizona secretary of state this year.
Novoa, who didn’t respond to a request for comment on Friday, filed a lawsuit challenging Terán’s citizenship in 2012, when Terán unsuccessfully ran for Arizona Senate in the Democratic primary.
That lawsuit was swiftly dismissed, and Terán’s attorney provided a copy of her birth certificate, according to court records.
In both cases, Novoa hasn’t paid any filing fees. She requested her fees be waived because she claims she doesn’t work and has no income. The court has waived or deferred more than $650 between the two cases.
A hearing in the latest case has been scheduled for Wednesday morning.