PHOENIX, Arizona -- The Tea Party has proven its influence when it comes to political candidates, but the conservative grassroots movement is also taking on issues like immigration.
When Gov. Jan Brewer, R-Ariz., signed Senate Bill 1070 into law, Kelly Townsend, the president of the Greater Phoenix Tea Party, was grateful.
"Our group, the Greater Phoenix Tea Party, worked very hard to help persuade the legislators to vote yes on this bill," she said. "We're very much in support."
The new Arizona law requires state and local police to question a person's immigration status if there's probable cause during a police stop for another offense.
Opponents of the law say it will lead to racial profiling, targeting Hispanics. Townsend says that's not true.
"It's not about the race. It's about your legal status here in this country," she added.
Townsend says the new law is also about financially rescuing Arizona.
"I think the Tea Party is very much state sovereignty and the rights of the state, and we recognize this is an issue," she continued. "Arizona is in such a crisis. The amount that we're spending compared to the amount that we're bringing in. The disparity is mind-boggling and a large part of that is due to the programs for the illegal aliens."
Townsend explained that the Tea Party believes in fiscal responsibility and she questioned how responsible it is to pay for programs for illegal immigrants, who don't have the rights under the U.S. Constitution.
Rep. David Gowan, Sr., R-Ariz., agrees with those beliefs.
"We lose over $2 billion a year to illegal immigration," Gowan said. "That's incarceration, education and hospitalization."
Townsend says to secure the border requires funding, and the money isn't there when Arizona's budget is in crisis.
"I think Arizona really needs prayer," Townsend said. "We've got a lot of things going on. I would ask for prayer for our state for steadfastness and also mercy for its people. We understand that God loves these people just as much as He loves the citizens."
"But at the same time that we do take the stand that this is our country. These are our laws," she added. "God requires us to follow the laws of the land."