As state legislatures begin to pick up speed early in the 2012 session, a growing number of states that passed broad anti-immigrant laws over the past two years are seeing the error of their ways. Citing widespread economic devastation, a dramatically-worsened business climate, and a loss of public support, four states out of the five that passed laws based upon Arizona and Alabama’s flawed models are now seeking to repeal their anti-immigrant laws.
As comprehensive immigration reform remained stalled in Congress in 2011, the issue persisted as a top priority among state legislatures that pushed various bills targeting undocumented immigrants. Today, NCLR (National Council of La Raza) released The Wrong Approach: State Anti-Immigration Legislation in 2011, a report that offers a state-by-state breakdown of the status of anti-immigrant bills introduced over the past year. In fact, in 2011 many more states considered and advanced laws focused on expanding opportunity for immigrants and residents as a whole in a variety of areas, including access to higher education and labor rights. As 2012 legislative sessions kick off, scores of state legislators are working to advance common-sense approaches to immigration policy—those that bolster state economies and honor our nation’s values, according to Progressive States Network (PSN), a national organization that provides support to state legislators advancing positive, common-sense immigration measures.
Veinte Asambleas legislativas (Congresos estatales), entre ellas 10 controladas por mayorías republicanas, descartaron durante 2011 aprobar leyes migratorias inspiradas en la polémica SB1070 de Arizona, reveló un informe del Consejo Nacional de la Raza (NCLR, el principal grupo hispano de Estados Unidos) difundido el martes.
Over a year after the passage of SB 1070, what happened at the ballot box in Arizona this November was indicative a national backlash against not just anti-immigrant policies, but similar extremist overreach in state legislators on a number of issues. The verdict that Arizonans handed down on State Senator Russell Pearce this November was an historic one, as he became the first state lawmaker in Arizona history and the first Senate President of any state to be recalled. His support for extremist policies – including his close ties with the controversial, corporate-backed American Legislative Exchange Council – resulted in a bipartisan group of activists leading an ultimately successful charge to rein in his radical agenda.
Last week, voters nationwide said no to the right-wing efforts of some state political leaders. Those in west Mesa's Legislative District 18 ousted one of Arizona's most powerful conservatives, partly because of his focus on illegal-immigration enforcement. Phoenix and Tucson elected Democratic mayors. In other states, voters overturned legislation that would have restricted unions and also rejected a ballot measure to ban all abortions. The outcomes of these elections have politicians and analysts wondering whether the nation is moving left.
Exactly one year ago, conservatives swept the states on Election Day, thanks to promises to focus on jobs and the economy. But in states where conservatives were able to advance their agenda in 2011 sessions, voters only saw attacks on workers, the middle class, women, immigrants, and historically disenfranchised communities. This week, voters from every corner of the nation - form Ohio to Maine to Arizona to Mississippi - sent a striking and direct message in response, rejecting the overreach of right-wing legislatures and governors in 2011 on a range of issues.
This week’s misguided ruling by a federal judge in Alabama that upheld parts of the harshest anti-immigrant state law in the nation, HB 56, is a devastating setback to our nation’s deeply held values, Alabama’s economic prosperity, and the well-being of all Alabama residents. The Alabama decision does not represent existing and binding Supreme Court precedent, and it stands as an outlier in stark contrast to other recent federal rulings on similarly draconian anti-immigrant laws, including Arizona’s SB 1070, where the courts have ruled similar provisions unconstitutional — including those that require law enforcement officials to ask for immigration papers from anyone they suspect on sight of being undocumented. If allowed to stand, this decision would put countless Alabama families and children in danger, drive taxpayers out of the state, sink Alabama’s economy, and set a chilling example that other states would be foolhardy to follow.