This year, the national call for progress on immigration energized state fights for more inclusive immigration policy and, notably, stemmed the flow of anti-immigrant bills that seemed omnipresent just two short years ago. While the long-awaited federal package for immigration reform makes its way through the legislative process, here’s a recap of the action legislators took in states across the country.
Last week, a federal district court in Phoenix issued a mixed ruling on Arizona’s anti-immigrant SB 1070. Immigrant communities declared partial victory with Judge Susan Bolton's decision to strike down the portion of the law that makes it a crime to drive, live with, or engage in everyday activities with an undocumented individual. This means Arizonans of good faith who interact with or provide spiritual support to an undocumented friend or neighbor no longer have to worry about getting slapped with criminal penalties or arrest. Several SB 1070 copycats — including laws in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina — feature similar provisions which have also been blocked by federal courts.
This messaging resource will help unpack the provisions being challenged, sketch out likely outcomes for the decision, and frame the debate in ways that spotlight the failings of the SB 1070 approach and the way forward: through common-sense immigration policies that expand economic opportunity for all residents, both immigrant and native-born.
State Legislators for Progressive Immigration Policy – a growing national group of 96 state legislators representing constituents in 38 states and counting – issued the following statement today on last week’s signing of Alabama’s latest anti-immigrant bill, HB 658, into law:
The Supreme Court will soon decide the constitutionality of key provisions of Arizona’s anti-immigrant SB 1070 law in Arizona v. United States. While the decision is likely to be handed down in late June, it is very important that legislators, advocates, and activists speak with a unified voice about this divisive and mean-spirited law. This PDF is a messaging resource that highlights the law’s unconstitutionality but also emphasizes the economically destructive nature of anti-immigrant legislation and the clear trend amongst the broad majority of state legislatures around the country that have chosen not to follow Arizona’s lead.
As the United States Supreme Court hears oral arguments on the challenge to Arizona’s anti-immigrant law SB 1070, State Legislators for Progressive Immigration Policy – a growing national group of 94 state legislators representing constituents in 38 states and counting – issued the following statement.
The court and the legal pundits are missing something if their focus rests solely on who should be burdened with enforcing our outdated immigration laws. The real story on SB 1070 is the growing national consensus that the law, and the “self-deportation” approach upon which it relies, is a failed and disastrous approach to immigration — one that has rapidly fallen out of favor in states across the country.
As state legislatures begin to pick up speed early in the 2012 session, a growing number of states that passed broad anti-immigrant laws over the past two years are seeing the error of their ways. Citing widespread economic devastation, a dramatically-worsened business climate, and a loss of public support, four states out of the five that passed laws based upon Arizona and Alabama’s flawed models are now seeking to repeal their anti-immigrant laws.
In the year since conservatives took control of the U.S. House of Representatives and legislative bodies in states across the nation, we’ve seen them move their agenda with alarming disregard for both democracy and the economic security of the nation. From the irresponsibly provoked debt ceiling “crisis” to the wholesale obstruction of job creation efforts, conservatives on the national stage took an approach of reckless political brinksmanship over the past year that put the entire economy at risk. And from Wisconsin to Alabama and beyond, 2011 saw conservatives in the states—buoyed by support from their corporate allies in the 1%—launch attack after attack on workers, women, voters, and immigrants. But the new year brings new hope for progressives looking to turn the tide—hope that, for the time being, largely resides not in the halls of Congress but in the 50 states.