Sunday, September 27, 2020

States and Cities Should Reconsider Expensive Court Battles

As state legislators across the country continue to push for various anti-immigration bills, two new reports by the Center for American Progress and the Southern Poverty Law Center have exposed the high price tag associated with these growing legal battles.

These reports cite the financial, social and economic costs that such immigration bills have already had on cities where such bills have been determine unconstitutional by the courts.

Angela Kelley, vice-president of immigration policy and advocacy at the Center for American Progress (CAP), told Common Dreams, “Jurisdictions would spend substantial amounts of money to pursue proposals that in most cases are going to lose in the courts.”

CAP’s report features small towns in New Jersey, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Texas, and one county in Virginia.  It provides several examples of the effects that such discriminatory legislation is beginning to have on these and other local cities across the nation.

The Southern Poverty Law Center’s report titled in part “When Mr. Kobach Comes to Town,” cautions other cities who may be thinking of driving similar proposals to “think twice.” 

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the mind who helped draft the controversial anti-immigrant law SB 1070 in Arizona, has been advising cities and states on how to attack immigration.  La Plaza has extensively covered Kobach’s plans, which most recently include efforts to change the 14th Amendment to deny citizenship to children of undocumented immigrants.

The report suggests states that have passed anti-immigration laws including Pennsylvania, Missouri, Nebraska, Texas and Arizona are now feeling the sharp impact of spending millions of dollars to defend these in court, with almost every judicial decision going against them. 

In the past, Kobach has said the Southern Poverty Law Center’s criticisms were unfounded.

Mark Potok, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project, explains that major concerns lie in that most of these laws are fueled by “hateful rhetoric used by politicians and talk show hosts, manifesting itself with a spike in hate crimes and threats towards Latinos and people of color.”

Common Dreams

Center for American Progress

Southern Poverty Law Center

Kansas City Star