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Report: Most states rejected SB 1070-style laws in 2011

Lawmakers fear backlash seen in Arizona

WASHINGTON – The majority of states that considered immigration bills similar to Arizona’s SB 1070 rejected them in 2011, a testament to the negative effects such laws have on a state’s economy and reputation, a new report claims.

The report, released Tuesday by the National Council of La Raza, said 31 of 36 state legislatures either voted down or failed to advance SB 1070–style bills in 2011.

“The Wrong Approach: State Anti-Immigration Legislation in 2011" attributed the high failure rate to the challenges and scrutiny Arizona faced in the aftermath of the state’s 2010 passage of SB 1070. The law allows local police to check a suspect’s immigration status, among other sweeping measures.

“Elected officials on both sides of the aisle are recognizing the fallout from passing such laws,” said Elena Lacayo, immigration field coordinator for NCLR and author of the report for the national Hispanic–rights advocacy organization.

But supporters of such legislation dismissed the report, pointing instead to the fact that five states adopted SB 1070–type laws last year.

“This isn’t a serious piece of research, it’s a political document,” said Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach of the La Raza report. Kobach co–authored SB 1070 and a similar law in Alabama.

The report fails to acknowledge that legislatures don’t pass most bills, Kobach said. Kansas didn’t pass its version of the legislation because of procedural maneuvers in the Statehouse, not because of a lack of support, he said.

“To draw a conclusion on the fact that a legislature doesn’t pass legislation is nonsensical,” Kobach said. “The polling indicates the laws are as popular as ever.”

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Kobach said he was encouraged that five states – Utah, Indiana, Alabama, South Carolina and Georgia – passed such laws in 2011 and said he expects more will do so in 2012.

But the NCLR report said that after Arizona passed SB 1070, it was faced with legal battles – the U.S. Supreme Court is set to review the law this year – economic losses totaling more than $750 million, damage to its reputation and the recall of former state Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, who became the face of the bill.

Colorado state Sen. Michael Johnston, a Denver Democrat who joined in the release of the report, said he is seeing more Republican support in his state for pro–immigration laws, in part because of the political fallout following SB 1070.

“The first chapter of the debate is always: Is this or is this not good policy?” Johnston said. “This (the report) makes it clear that it’s both bad policy and bad politics.”

But Arizona state Sen. Ron Gould, like Kobach, flatly denied claims that there have been negative consequences to the state because of SB 1070. The bill demonstrated Arizona’s commitment to protecting its borders, a responsibility the federal government has failed to address, Gould said.

“Arizona leads the nation on the fight on illegal immigration,” said Gould, a Lake Havasu Republican. “I think that 1070 had a positive effect on states across the United States.”

Both Gould and Kobach said the Pearce recall was an “anomaly” that is unlikely to be duplicated because of the unique circumstances that allowed it to occur.

Lacayo said the record of SB 1070–style legislation speaks for itself, but she expects some states will consider similar legislation in 2012, despite ramifications and strong resistance from voters and businesses.

“At the beginning of the (2011) legislative session, people like Kris Kobach were saying they were going to advance these bills,” Lacayo said. “Despite all of that hype around that and all they were attempting to do, they did fail quite a bit.”

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Latest comments on this storyRead all 5 »

Jan 13, 2012, 6:03 pm
-1 +1

Most us know that we can automatically disregard ANY information provided by LaRaza.

The real problem is a disconnect between our bought off legislators and the general public.  Poll after poll demonstrates that the citizens of this state want illegal immigration controlled.

We need to unelect a bunch of these sell outs and get some teeth in our laws - by demanding that they be enforced.  We could very well look to Sheriff Joe for instructions on how to do this!

Jan 12, 2012, 1:46 pm
-1 +2

A new report claims most states reject immigration laws?
You mean like California’s Prop 187 that was overwhelmingly passed by the voter/citizens of California?

What a bogus report and don’t anyone believe it!
American citizens unanimously wish to enforce our immigration laws on the books and that is why most states push for new laws to protect the American citizen, but of course our so-called leaders do everything to thwart the wishes of the American people.

Jan 11, 2012, 3:26 pm
-1 +3

With the outcome of the New Hampshire primary with Mitt Romney in the lead, followed closely by Ron Paul with others close behind; so who in actuality has the best understanding of the illegal immigration invasion? NOT AS LEGAL IMMIGRANTS AS THE LIBERAL PROGRESSIVES HAVE CONVEYED, AS BEING OF THE SAME STATUS AS ILLEGAL ALIENS. Everywhere in the Liberal press is this “Political Correctness” mendacious determination to betray their readers, which both illegal and legal immigrants and migrants are of the same status? 

Republican candidates have a minor difference amongst the top contenders, but all sponsor mass deportations, harsh state enforcement policing laws and extending the fence along our Southern border. All Republican candidates, except Newt Gingrich are in opposition to giving most illegal immigrants a path to lawful residents. However—mass deportations can be very expensive and not so simple, with court appearances and stays. Republicans in the Senate and the House can alleviate much of this expense, by co-sponsoring the “Legal Workforce Act” (E-Verify) that once the law is enacted and businesses can no longer chance the hiring of illegal workers, in time thousands will begin the self-deportation. This is a matter of fact, because hiring an illegal alien will bring the down the ICE and the courts down upon the perpetrator. Mandatory E-Verify would enforce these laws if enacted:

1. Require 100% of businesses to use E-Verify for all employers within 2 years
2.  Require all federal, state, and local agencies, businesses that contract with the federal or state government, and businesses with more than 10,000 employees to begin using E-Verify within 6 months
3.  Require federal, state, and local agencies to run its entire workforce through E-Verify
4.  Allow private business to check all current employees through E-Verify
5.  Increase employer penalties and fines for knowingly hiring illegal-alien workers

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Children at a protest against SB 1070 on April 26, 2010, in Minneapolis.