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AZ: Anti-Immigrant Measures v. Minimum Wage Hikes

For the right wing in the Arizona state legislature, their only response to sweatshop employers using low-wage undocumented immigrants has been to try to make criminals of the undocumented workers themselves, even as they've opposed raising minimum wage standards to eliminate the sweatshops which financially benefit from exploited immigrants in the first place. Yesterday, Gov. Napolitano vetoed a bill that would have created a new criminal charge of trespassing in the state for any undocumented immigrant picked up by local law enforcement officials. Law enforcment officials ranging from the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association to the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police had opposed the measure as an unfunded mandate on local authorities that would have detracted from other needs. But remarkably, while Arizona legislative leaders promote divisive immigration proposals, they still maintain their soft spot for exploititive employers driving demand for undocumented workers and have repeatedly refused to raise the minimum wage in Arizona from its $5.15 per hour federal rate. Instead, advocates have had to go to the ballot with an initiative to raise the minimum wage. But you have to ask the anti-immigrant legislators-- If you worry about the effects of immigration on pushing down wages, why not just raise wages for workers directly through raising the minimum wage? And since they don't, you have to suspect that this wave of anti-immigrant legislation is about bumper sticker politics, not real concerns for working Americans,