Sunday, May 19, 2024

Anti-Immigrant Bills in Arizona Rejected

The latest battle over immigration in Arizona ended in a resounding defeat for the anti-immigrant faction in the legislature after the Senate rejected five wide ranging bills targeting undocumented immigrants yesterday.

“It’s time for us to take a timeout,” said Senator John McComish, a Phoenix Republican. “It’s something that the people don’t want us to be focusing on.”

The bills would have impacted immigrants in the areas of health care, public services and driving, etc.  Under one of the measures, any public housing tenants would be evicted if they allowed undocumented immigrants to live with them.  Another bill also targeted the children of undocumented immigrants looking to deny them citizenship and ultimately would force the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the 14th Amendment, which grants anyone born in the U.S. automatic citizenship.

Senate President Russell Pearce, the sponsor of the controversial SB 1070 and two of the rejected bills called the defeat a “lack of political courage.”

Parts of SB 1070, including the requirement that would force police to question the legal status of anyone they detain under reasonable suspicion, were put on hold by a federal judge last summer.  That law sparked a heated national debate over immigration and set off a series of copycat laws in numerous states all across the country.

Earlier this week, the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce released a letter against such measures saying they will hurt the state’s economy and tourism.  The letter was signed by dozens of business owners, including heads of construction companies, hospitals, real estate developers and US Airways.

“This was a clear statement that Arizona needs to focus on its priorities, not try to solve the immigration problem,” Democratic State Senator Steve Gallardo told Reuters.

NY Times