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New Resource on How to Respond to Arizona Copycat Bills

To date, legislators in up to 22 states have expressed interest in introducing legislation based upon Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, SB 1070, despite a current federal court injunction barring implementation of many of its most draconian provisions. 

Many anti-immigrant proposals have already failed this year in states across the nation including in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Arkansas, and KansasArizona's law is currently barred after a federal court decision.  Yet even as the US Department of Justice continues to investigate SB 1070 for preempting federal immigration law and legal experts underline the law's unconstitutionality, anti-immigrant legislators and advocacy groups continue to attempt to bring similarly mean-spirited and regressive laws to other states. 

A new briefing document, Fighting Back Against Copycat Immigration Laws Like Arizona's, prepared by Henry Fernandez of the Center for American Progress in close consultation with Progressive States Network; Immigration Policy Center; National Immigration Forum; Media Matters Action Network; and the Southern Poverty Law Center, provides a useful set of talking points and facts that outline how anti-immigrant proposals such as Arizona’s are misguided, unconstitutional, based upon fake data, and extremely expensive for states and localities.  In addition to highlighting how advocates and state legislators can shift the immigration debate by introducing and advancing positive, pro-immigrant legislation, the briefing document is also designed to provide you with effective and well-researched arguments and talking points should an Arizona ‘copycat’ proposal come to your state.

Some additional resources to bolster the talking points, facts, and arguments outlined in the Center for American Progress memo include more on Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's anti-immigrant crusade; how lawsuits against SB 1070 seek to maintain clear federal responsibility over immigration law; and more from PSN on how many anti-immigrant legislators falsely claimed crime rates in Arizona were soaring as the state's number of immigrant residents increased - thereby justifying the need for laws such as SB 1070. 

States and legislators can provide a powerful counterpoint to anti-immigrant legislation by introducing legislation that provides solutions and expands opportunity for all residents, immigrant and native-born alike. Legislators can also join forces with other progressive elected officials to stand up against anti-immigrant politics and divisive rhetoric.  Coalitions such as State Legislators for Progressive Immigration Policy, a dynamic and growing set of progressive elected officials from 32 states (affiliated with Progressive States Network), are calling for common-sense approaches to immigration policy via media briefings  and introducing pro-immigrant legislation in states nationwide.

Progressive States Network encourages state legislators to support pro-immigrant policies and to join State Legislators for Progressive Immigration Policy (SLPIP) by signing on to our principles for Progressive Immigration Policy here.