Arizona Immigration Reform, A Look Back

The battle over immigration reform has entered its second year and the landscape now looks very different than even a few months ago.  Arizona took the lead and offered the draconian (and unconstitutional) SB 1070 and at least 20 states lined up to propose similar measures.

But in at least six states those proposals have been voted down or simply withered on the vine.  At least as many can’t make it out of committee.

Even in conservative Utah their efforts at immigration reform have produced a bill that many of the backers of the Arizona approach dismiss as amnesty.  The Utah bill, passed on Friday, creates ID cards for “guest workers” and their families so long as they pay a fine and don’t commit serious crimes.  Immigrants who entered the country illegally would be fined up to $2500 while those who entered the country legally but were not complying with federal immigration law would be fined $1000.

As the bill’s author state Rep. Bill Wright noted “[s]ending a few people home will not solve our problems.”

So why the sea change?  Most immigration policy experts point to state budget woes as the primary motivator for moving away from the Arizona approach.  The massive expansion of police power contemplated by the Arizona-style immigration measures means spending money on added enforcement, not to mention the costs associated with defending the measures in court.   States are looking ways to reduce spending, not increase it. 

Additionally, businesses have shown an uncomfortableness with the economic consequences associated with unpopular measures.  Despite best efforts to spin the story otherwise, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is facing growing pressure to curb these kinds of efforts and if she doesn’t may even face a recall.  And while SB 1070 still has support among Arizonans, other immigration measures pushed through this year are not as popular.

So what does this all mean?  If there can be any consensus drawn a year later, it is the importance of a broad-based national solution to the challenges of immigration reform.  Congress took a stab at it last year but was stymied by Republicans.  Given the current makeup of the House of Representatives there’s no reason to think any reasonable reform will come anytime soon.

Which means states will continue along in a patchwork fashion and the issue will most likely be decided through court challenges.  For those who support the Arizona approach to immigration reform, that is not good news.

photo courtesy of barnaby via Flickr


LMj Sunshine

Thank you.

LMj Sunshine

Thank you.

Linda H.
Linda h5 years ago

Vince, I grew up in L.A. with legal and illegal Mexicans and Mexican Americans. I've traveled extensively through Mexico alone as a young woman. I've owned a home in Arizona that I gave to my mother who lived in Tucson, Mesa,and Payson. I live in NYC which is home to more illegals of every nation than live in Arizona. Our mayor has stated that our city can't function without *illegals*. The Dream Act was good for this country as a whole. Men and women who are willing to serve our country and die doing it are the kind of citizens we need not whining teabaggers afraid of their own shadows. My family came here as immigrants and my son is married to a woman with a green card. I am very aware of how this all works. I am sorry you feel I am personally attacking you. How do you think others here feel about you attacking them? Considering what has just happened in Arizona with the Republicans backing off and voting down the most recent anti illegals you should stop and reconsider what is and what is not *lefty*. Most of them work hard and AG work is not unskilled labor. They pay taxes just like you do. Some of them get rich like Gov. Swartzenager or Ceasar Milan. It's not so easy to get legal anymore. I knew people before 9/11 who just had to marry a US citizen and they could be legal. Even McCain was for immigration reform at the beginning of his campaign. Someone decided to stir this all up and turned it into a hate fest and you bought it.

Vince D.
Vince D5 years ago


My posts have never been about hate or fear. I have presented good “lefty” reasons to oppose illegal and excessive legal immigration. Perhaps you don’t like my message, but knock off the personal attacks.

I have not read the DREAM ACT cover to cover, but I have read enough to confirm the NumbersUSA post, and by the way, that post does not reflect the last minute changes that were made.

The fact is that without strict verification, the DREAM Act is an invitation to fraud. It rewards criminal actions and does not do anything to remove the illegal alien parents that brought their kids here.

Have you lived in the Western US, or are you holed up in NYC? I have experienced the Mexican invasion as a resident of Colorado. I need no one to give me “talking points”, from the left or the right.

I have yet to see even one rational argument as to why we should open our borders. There have been lots of emotion, lots of pro-Hispanic racism and false claims of the “rights” of illegals. But, not even ONE logical fact based REASON to allow or reward illegal migration. Perhaps you can be the first to present such an argument?

Linda H.
Linda h5 years ago

Marina J, thank you for putting up a decent comment. Hating and fear is what holds these people together.It's all they have left.Vince has never actually read The Dream Act. He can only put up a whack job opinion piece in reply. They've given him some talking points and he does his best the others are persona management software. They aren't real.

Sound Mind
Ronald E5 years ago

Should have stopped ALL immigration 20 years ago, legal or otherwise.

Vince D.
Vince D5 years ago


Illegals and their employers are criminals. The illegals at a minimum: a) come here illegally, b) work illegally by either working under the table (crime) or with false ID (crime). Many commit many more crimes, but the above is the minimum. The employers are violating fair labor laws and evading taxes. They are undermining the work of unions and our laws protecting workers. Do you understand this?

American workers and tax payers are victim of these crimes. 7-8 million American workers are displaced directly by illegals. Many millions more are suffering wage depression because of illegal employment. Hospitals are going bankrupt because of unpaid bills. People are dying because of illegal drivers. Taxpayers are forced to foot the bills for the children of illegals. Please stop acting as if illegal aliens are poor prosecuted innocents. They are guilty and so are their greedy employers. Enforcing our laws is hardly “targeting” them.

And no, no one is going to “target” any innocent people. To assert this is simply hysteria.

So if you want to further sink American workers go ahead, flood the market with illegal and even more newly legal workers. That will further depress wages and the Koch brothers and other business owning Republicans will thank you.


Marina J.
Marina Joslin5 years ago

Division is the best strategy used by those bankrupting our country. Right now it is the illegals and Muslims who are being target; soon it will be blacks, Asians and Jews. How can you be so blind? Our government officials are in Capitol Hill slashing programs left and right, and we are wasting our energies hating each other.
How many of you are in solidarity with the people of Wisconsin, Ohio, and other states where public programs are being slashed? We are blaming the wrong people. We as a nation need a good dosage of Aristotle’s ethics 101.
Today just 400 Americans have the same wealth
as half of all Americans combined.

Charlene K.
Charlene K5 years ago

These Illegal Immigrants are bankrupting this nation. The US Government needs to enforce the laws on the books. Many States would find they are much closer to balancing their budgets.

Vince D.
Vince D5 years ago


Illegal aliens cost this country $billions. Do they “contribute? Sure they have jobs, but we have 25 million unemployed Americans who could be doing those jobs. There are 7-8 million IA’s in non-farm jobs displacing American workers, and driving wages down.

The CATO institute is “libertarian” think tank dedicated to pro-business causes and Charles Koch is the chairman of the board. Not so sure you really want to invoke that name… Big business wants more workers to choose from, to drive wages down. They also want more consumers so prices go up. This is why we are not enforcing our laws. The Chamber of Commerce has lobbied Congress against E-Verify and other enforcement. It’s called GREED! CATO and the Chamber’s support for illegal migration is profit based.

That “study” you cite is terribly flawed and biased. It is pure propaganda! The first sentence of the executive report is a lie. We have not even attempted to enforce the laws. He then holds up the 1986 amnesty, ignoring the fact that it didn’t work, and we have 12-20 million new illegals to demonstrate that failure.

Actually Marina, importing excessive numbers of workers (legally or otherwise) is bullying American workers. Where is your sympathy for them? Perhaps in your mind American workers, of any color, do not deserve any sympathy, somehow illegal aliens are more deserving. Sorry, but I don’t see it that way.