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.
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.
As comprehensive immigration reform remained stalled in Washington, D.C. in the first half of 2011, common-sense state legislators across the nation took up the fight in their legislative sessions, defeating expensive and misguided enforcement bills that targeted undocumented immigrants and their families. Despite the deluge of SB 1070 copycat bills promised by anti-immigrant groups, attempts to mimic Arizona’s anti-immigrant law largely failed, as did a far-right effort to rewrite the U.S. Constitution by revoking citizenship for children born in the United States. Encouragingly, state legislative sessions saw a wide variety of innovative and common-sense proposals that sought to expand opportunity for all residents, both immigrant and native-born, through approaches emphasizing access to education, workforce development, and community policing.
In this week’s Research Roundup: Reports from the Center for American Progress, Small Business Majority, and the Economic Policy Institute on the high costs of being anti-immigrant, some alarming facts about the economic recovery, and best practices for setting up health care exchanges for small businesses.
Beginning almost immediately with the gaveling-in of sessions in January, newly empowered conservatives unleashed a torrent of attacks aimed directly at workers, women, children, immigrants, historically disenfranchised populations, and the very existence of the middle class. Coordinated multi-state efforts like the assault on collective bargaining, extremist restrictions on reproductive rights, broad Arizona-style attacks on immigrants, and attempts to institute new barriers to voting through Voter ID requirements all repeatedly made national news.
Today, as the controversial American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) releases their annual rankings of outlooks for all 50 state economies, questions are being raised about the criteria used by the shadowy group. A new examination of the criteria used in past "Rich States, Poor States" reports published by ALEC in partnership with the infamous supply-side economist Arthur Laffer reveals rankings that are based on adherence to the policy wishes of huge corporations and that disregard the middle class entirely.