This morning, Jerry Fischer will get out of bed and get ready for the
day, like always. Then he'll spend hours dusting the house and vacuuming
rugs that likely don't need it. He'll clean the bathroom and empty the
trash and then will come the real highlight of his day.
Advocates demanding stricter rules against illegal immigration -- including those backing Arizona's new law clamping down on undocumented immigrants -- have long argued that state lawmakers have been forced to act because of Congress's reluctance to take the lead.
But with little sign that Congress will act on comprehensive immigration reform this year, advocates for immigrants are also taking matters into their own hands. Like their political opponents, they have turned to their state legislatures to fight back.
In states from Pennsylvania to Utah, a battle of bills has been taking place between those who want to reproduce the Arizona law, which hands police more power to detain anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally, and those who want to extend further rights to immigrants.
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is entering the nation's charged debate over immigration, agreeing to hear a challenge from business and civil liberties groups to an Arizona law that cracks down on employers who hire undocumented workers.
The justices on Monday accepted an appeal from the Chamber of Commerce, American Civil Liberties Union and others to a lower court ruling that upheld Arizona's law.
While the new Affordable Health Care law provides a variety of funding
opportunities for states, one provision in the health law that could
shift billions of dollars from cash-strapped states to the federal
government. Under the National
Medicaid Drug Rebate Program created by the Omnibus Budget
Reconciliation Act of 1990, drug manufacturers are required to enter
into agreements that provide rebates for Medicaid purchased drugs,
establishing a 15% minimum level of rebates. Up until now, the rebates
were divided between the states and the federal government. But under
the new health reform law, a significant portion of the rebates will go
solely to Washington beginning this year.
At a press briefing co-hosted by Progressive States
Network and the National Immigration Law Center, members of State Legislators
for Progressive Immigration Policy (SLPIP)-- a dynamic and
rapidly growing group of 54 legislators representing 28 states --
unveiled legislation they are advancing in their states to promote the
effective integration of immigrants as critical members of communities
and state economies
Luis Sanchez and Marlen Ramirez, undocumented
immigrants from Mexico, packed up and moved to Pennsylvania this month,
taking their three U.S. citizen children with them.
Many will cheer their departure, saying it's a sign that Arizona's
new immigration law, which hasn't taken effect yet, is driving out
illegal immigrants and potentially saving the state money. But not
everyone is pleased over the exodus of Latinos, both legal and illegal,
saying their flight from Arizona could hurt businesses, schools and
Immigrant and workers' rights advocates celebrated a victory in Rhode Island this week with the announcement that State Rep. Peter Palumbo's anti-immigrant bill, closely based on Arizona's widely
criticized SB 1070, would not get a hearing. Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox came out in opposition to Palumbo's bill, and decided to table it -- the proposal was drafted roughly ten days ago, just before the end of the state's legislative session.
Arizona's conservative Legislature made national headlines by passing a
discriminatory, anti-immigrant bill, SB
1070. Confronting one of the steepest budget shortfalls in the
nation, the Legislature lurched from privatization schemes to attempting
to completely eliminate its health care program for children. Even as
the state's economy remained in crisis, the legislative session was
dominated by right-wing obsessions like banning the regulation of
greenhouse gases, gun lobby priorities, attacks on ethnic study classes,
and bans on embryo and stem cell research. A few progressive
initiatives like encouraging youth voting and transparency for local
budgets were approved, but extreme right-wing posturing marred the
session and failed to address the state's precarious economic and fiscal