NASHVILLE — Gov. Phil Bredesen said Tuesday he signed a bill
requiring local jailers to try and determine the immigration status of
prisoners in part to keep the issue from “throwing gasoline on the fire”
in this year’s political campaigns.
But the governor, a Democrat who is barred by law from seeking a
third term, also said that while he doesn’t like how the bill is being
used “symbolically,” he views its requirements as not unreasonable in
light of similar local-federal partnerships already under way in the
state’s four biggest counties.
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.
As we highlighted two
weeks ago, the Arizona legislature and Governor's decisions
to pass a punitive, anti-immigrant bill - SB1070
- have unleashed a torrent of condemnations inside and outside of
Arizona. Voices speaking up against the bill have come not only from
civil rights organizations, but have also included public safety
officials, constitutional legal scholars, and, significantly, Republican
leaders and candidates from other states with
significant immigrant populations.
This week, the Arizona Senate passed the nation's most draconian
immigration law - which criminalizes the undocumented and those
accused of assisting them - that many critics say will drive racial
profiling and further undermine Arizona's devastated economy. The bill
now awaits now awaits Governor Jan Brewer's veto or approval.
Recent reports have raised serious concerns about program failures,
secret deportation quotas and the high costs of the Department of
Homeland Security (DHS)'s controversial 287(g) program, which trains and
authorizes state and local police departments to enforce federal