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Anti-Immigrant Bills Faltering, Even in Arizona

Anti-Immigrant Bills Faltering, Even in Arizona

After orchestrating a divisive national campaign to deny citizenship to the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants, Arizona legislators watched their own anti-birthright citizenship bill flounder in the state Senate this week.

ColorLines’ Jamilah King reports that Senate bill 1309—introduced with considerable fanfare only two weeks ago—met significant opposition during its first Senate hearing on Monday and was subsequently withdrawn by one of its chief sponsors, state Sen. Ron Gould (R). The swift defeat comes as a surprise to both supporters and opponents of the bill, as Arizona’s Republican-controlled legislature has managed to pass a number of controversial measures in the last year, without much difficulty.

What’s more, Arizona legislators—headed by Senate president Russell Pearce (R)—have brazenly led the charge against birthright citizenship, with legislation being introduced at both state and federal levels. So while 14 states are attempting to restrict citizenship and force a Supreme Court review of the 14th Amendment, according to Doug Ramsey at the Public News Service, Arizona had appeared to be the most likely to pass the controversial measure.

The effort isn’t completely dead, however. An identical measure introduced into the [STATE?] House may still stand a chance, as it has yet to reach committee. Meanwhile, Gould will keep trying to secure votes for SB 1309, while Pearce considers reassigning the bill to a friendlier committee. Nevertheless, the measure’s easy defeat in a state notorious for embracing hard line immigration laws may bode ill for similar efforts elsewhere.

SB 1070 copycat measures provoke division in Colorado, New Mexico and Florida

Indeed, attempts to pass Arizona-style immigration laws in other states have been repeatedly slowed by myriad legislative roadblocks and growing division between and within political parties.

In Colorado, proponents of an immigration law modeled after Arizona’s SB 1070 say they are planning to withdraw the measure after weeks of deliberation and indecision, reports Scot Kersgaard at the Colorado Independent. Just days after Arizona lawmakers withdrew their vaunted birthright citizenship bill, Colorado Rep. Randy Baumgardner (R) told reporters that legislators—who had hoped to avoid the kinds of costly legal challenges provoked by SB 1070— had failed to resolve the “possibly unconstitutional” elements of the measure.

In New Mexico, an executive order issued by Governor Susanna Martinez (R) that requires police to investigate the immigration statuses of all criminal suspects has sparked the ire of state Democrats. The American Independent’s Matthew Reichbach reports that Democratic legislators held a press conference last week denouncing the order, which is similar to Arizona’s SB 1070 and could lead to racial profiling.

While Martinez was careful to prohibit law enforcement from asking victims and witnesses about their immigration statuses (a practice that has, in Arizona, discouraged immigrant victims and witnesses from reporting violent crimes), Rep. Antonio Maestas (D) voiced concerns that the order could inhibit domestic violence victims from coming forward. Often, law enforcement responding to domestic disputes regard both parties as suspect (even fingerprinting and taking both into custody) until full statements can be taken and assessed—at which time, the victim is released.

But, as I’ve written before, in such cases victims run the risk of being questioned about their immigration status and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In response, Democratic lawmakers are pushing several bills that would overturn the governor’s order.

Meanwhile, in Florida, Republicans are divided over the prospect of introducing their own SB 1070 copycat bill, reports Elena Shore at New America Media/La Prensa, Senate President Mike Haridopolos (R) argues that such a measure would be bad for the state, but newly elected Republican Governor Rick Scott (who campaigned on an anti-immigration platform) maintains that “police should have the ability to ask people for immigration papers while they go about their jobs, even during routine stops.”

Meanwhile, an SB 1070-type bill that was introduced last session may get a makeover as its author, Rep. William Snyder (R), tries to soften its provisions in advance of the upcoming legislative session, which opens March 8.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about immigration by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. 


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Photo credit: OLIVIER LALIN
by Catherine A. Traywick, Media Consortium blogger

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73 comments

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7:59PM PDT on Oct 16, 2012

Thank you for article.

7:59PM PDT on Oct 16, 2012

Thank you for article.

7:58PM PDT on Oct 16, 2012

Thank you for article.

9:20AM PST on Feb 27, 2011

Good. I hope it all falters.

We have an illegal immigration problem -- we need to have intelligent solutions proposed (we have done some), but it is being hindered by out-and-out racist talk. The two are separate. We need clear thinking.

3:50PM PST on Feb 16, 2011

everything involving illegals is not anti immigrant people.

Both the media and some liberals have worked on codifying this entire fight against illegals as something racist when it's simply reinforcing or forcing application of the law.

But in America today, the last stand of the bewildered has become the racist argument. Its a kind of unthinking trump for dealing with an actual issue. Say bad things enough about the opposition to your positions such as this and it's often like a nuclear weapon-overkill and ending any chance of occupying the won ground.

8:22AM PST on Feb 15, 2011

common sense ???

1:33PM PST on Feb 14, 2011

Angelica T. Americans would not want the poorly paid agricultural jobs but they would be delighted to get the construction jobs now done by illegal migrants. The cfarm jobs could as well be done by legal aliens as illegal ones. Let’s keep the discussion on a reality track which is more likely to lead to a solution than your fictional and emotional side taking.

8:02AM PST on Feb 14, 2011

Kay,

You’re right! Common sense is starting to come out.

The bill to stop granting automatic birthright citizenship now has 57 co-sponsors, and the count is rising daily.

Even Cynthia Tucker even wrote an op-ed in support of E-Verify, and correctly pointed out that the “cheap labor lobby” is fighting it.

I like your idea of denying citizenship to those who can’t use logic and reason. GWB certainly would have flunked. The folks who keep repeating the lie that illegals are beneficial to our nation would fail that test also.

We’d be better off without the extremists on BOTH sides. The far “right” and far “left” are BOTH running this country into the ground. Somehow, the “middle” needs to regain control.

8:00AM PST on Feb 14, 2011

Kay,

You’re right! Common sense is starting to come out.

The bill to stop granting automatic birthright citizenship now has 57 co-sponsors, and the count is rising daily.

Even Cynthia Tucker even wrote an op-ed in support of E-Verify, and correctly pointed out that the “cheap labor lobby” is fighting it.

I like your idea of denying citizenship to those who can’t use logic and reason. GWB certainly would have flunked. The folks who keep repeating the lie that illegals are beneficial to our nation would fail that test also.

We’d be better off without the extremists on BOTH sides. The far “right” and far “left” are BOTH running this country into the ground. Somehow, the “middle” needs to regain control.

6:30PM PST on Feb 13, 2011

Kay: absolutely brilliant! I agree 100%. And you gave me a good laugh, too! The bigots and crazies always come out for these immigration discussions.

As for those who think illegal immigrants are taking our jobs or exacerbating unemployment... go ahead, and take one of those jobs. I'd like to see you do it. No Americans want those jobs.

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