AZ Immigration Laws Spreading, Rhetoric Heating Up
By now you probably know that the US Justice Department is suing the State of Arizona over the constitutionality of SB 1070, the controversial immigration reform measure that has received national attention since it signed in to law this April. To read more about the federal lawsuit click here. For a business perspective on the Arizona bill, check out my interview with Tucson Chamber CEO Jack Camper, CCE.
You may not know that, so far, this legal challenge isn't deterring other states from working on similar immigration legislation to present next year. According to the Washington Post: "Lawmakers in 20 states have expressed an interest in adopting anti-immigration laws similar to Arizona's. Those most likely to succeed are in Oklahoma, South Carolina and Utah." In Oklahoma the bill is being carried forward by State Rep. Randy Terrill, the same legislator who received national attention for his 2007 immigration bill that made transporting, employing or providing shelter to an illegal immigrant a felony offense. That law is under injunction after being challenged by a coalition of Oklahoma's business leaders. Click here to read more about the new wave of Arizonaesque immigration bills in the pipeline for 2011.
Meanwhile, Arizona lawmakers and candidates for office are not finished with aggressive (and often questionable) immigration proposals. Shortly after AZ 1070 was signed into law, the Arizona Department of Education created another national stir when they announced that they would begin removing teachers with heavy accents classrooms. Then in late June Barry Wong, a candidate for the Arizona utilities commission, vowed to cut off power and gas to illegal immigrants if he's elected. His argument is that utilities in the state could avoid expanding production capacity if they didn't have to supply power to their illegal immigrant customers, and not having to bring new production on line would save legal resident ratepayers. Arizona Chamber of Commerce CEO Glenn Hamer issued an open letter criticizing Wong in the Arizona Republic saying:
"Your cynical attempt to ratchet up the rhetoric over immigration to score cheap political points in a bid for office marks a new low in our state's immigration debate." and... "To deny someone access to electricity based on his or her immigration status is not only a wrongheaded policy proposal, it's just cruel."
Read more at: An open letter to Barry Wong