25 States Considering Arizona-style Immigration Laws

Great article by our Law Clerk, Andrew Desposito about Arizona Style Immigration movement. An immigrant-rights group has released a report predicting that 25 states may try next year to pass anti-illegal-immigration laws similar to Arizona’s controversial legislation.

The number of states considering legislation modeled after SB1070, the bill that Arizona GOP Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law this spring, is apparently growing: Earlier, pro-enforcement groups said 22 states were considering the bill, the Washington Independent’s Elise Foley notes.

The new efforts are going forward even after a federal judge ruled key parts of the Arizona law unconstitutional and enjoined its enforcement in Arizona in July. That decision is now under appeal before the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court.

Georgia, Mississippi, Oklahoma and South Carolina are most likely to pass a similar law next year, the new report says. Tennessee, Utah, Florida, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Texas, Arkansas, Indiana, Colorado, Virginia, Minnesota, Missouri, Idaho and Kansas made the report’s “maybe” list. In Maryland, Nevada, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Michigan, Ohio and Rhode Island, the legislation is seen as less likely to pass.

The report notes that from 2006 to 2008, municipalities passed a host of local laws and statutes cracking down on employers hiring illegal immigrants.

This next wave of legislation, the report says, will be aimed at getting local law enforcement to check immigration status in routine police stops, as SB1070 mandates.

Such a trend only goes to show how reactionary immigration views have become since Arizona passed SB1070. Because there has been so much talk about how the Federal government has not done enough to prevent illegal immigrants from coming to the U.S., more and more people in other states are identifying with Arizona and its current attempt to curtail illegal immigration through their state legislatures. As evidenced above, more states look to address the issue in the coming year.

Lawmakers may be influenced by how the Ninth Circuit rules on SB1070, and how the Supreme Court rules on the state’s 2007 employer-sanction law passed. Finances may also influence local politicians’ decisions, as more immigration-related arrests and court battles end up costing cities and counties that adopt such rules.

One industry stands to benefit from such laws. In Arizona’s case, the private prison industry helped guide the process that made SB1070 law and even gave the legislation its name while working with legislators, NPR reports. Thirty of the cosponsors to SB1070 later received money from the private prison industry or its lobbyists. With certain lobbyists behind the push for such a law, it is a concern that not only those who hold conservative views on immigration would be behind passing such a law, but also those who stand to benefit financially as well.

Of course, if more people voice their concerns over such laws in the states considering such an anti-immigration law, then perhaps there will be more discussion in the Federal government for what it will do to prevent states from entering the area of regulating immigration.