Policies that seek to exclude, segregate, and stigmatize foreign-born residents might be politically helpful to a small group of extremists, but they are also an assault on America’s values as a nation of immigrants committed to "liberty and justice for all." Thankfully, as the Arizona approach fails in state after state, we are seeing that elected officials and voters across the nation already recognize this fact.
Since he took office earlier this year, New Jersey Gov. Chris
Christie has waged an ideological war on state employees and programs,
and advocated for unsustainable and costly privatization schemes. Even
in light of overwhelming public opposition
to privatization and the significant pitfalls associated with these
types of initiatives, the Governor established a privatization task
force by executive order in early April, seeking to identify $50 million in savings.
The Arizona Interfaith Alliance for Worker Justice,
a worker center in Phoenix, has seen a “huge spike” in wage theft --
violations of minimum wage laws -- since the passage of SB 1070,
Arizona’s anti-immigrant law. "Employers are even more brazen in their
mistreatment of workers," said Executive Director Trina Zelle in an interview with In These Times.
"Increasingly, 'Go ahead, try and make me pay you' is the response
workers hear when they confront their employers over unpaid wages."
As this Dispatch will detail, after considerable media hype about Arizona-style bills sweeping across the nation, the reality is that from from Nevada to Arkansas to Massachusetts to Kansas and Rhode Island,
anti-immigrant bills and ballot initiatives largely didn't move or
failed to make this fall's ballot. A key reason: most state leaders
and police chiefs recognize that requiring local governments to assume
immigration enforcement responsibilities from the federal government
will distract them from fighting violent crime and undermine trust with
local residents that are essential to successful community policing.
This year marked another contentious legislative session for Minnesota, marked
by gubernatorial vetoes and tough negotiations over the budget and
healthcare. In the end, Gov. Pawlenty vetoed twenty bills, bringing his
eight-year total to 96. This year's vetoes included a wide range of
measures, from a bill enabling same-sex partners to make end-of-life
decisions, to a medical marijuana bill, to a bill that would have
supported local government and non-profit innovation efforts. Painful
budget cuts and cost deferrals left the state's financial picture for
2012 and beyond uncertain, but legislators did manage to move important
measures on broadband, energy conservation, and consumer protection, as
well as a billion-dollar bonding measure that will create some jobs to
cushion losses in other areas.
Tennessee’s much-publicized educational reforms overshadowed the
fact that the state’s policy decisions during the 2010 legislative
session took a sharp rightward turn. Immigration and abortion were big
targets, but public health and safety were also negatively affected by
legislation that defied common sense.