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Dems will go to Ala. to fight SB 1070-style law

Grijalva says light must be shed on 'rising climate of fear'

WASHINGTON — Arizona leaders need to show “support and comfort” to people in Alabama who are dealing with the negative impacts of that state’s strict new immigration law, a House Democrat said Thursday.

Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D–Tucson, was one of 10 lawmakers who announced plans to head to Alabama on Monday to bring national attention to that state’s immigration law.

“It’s not just pure symbolism, it’s about bringing attention to a rising climate of fear,” Griljava said about the trip.

Grijalva said that when Arizona was in the throes “of its SB 1070, there was a lot of people from across the nation that came to lend support, so I think it’s only fitting we do the same.”

Alabama’s law, known as HB 56, is modeled after Arizona’s SB 1070. Both were written by Kris Kobach, who is now Kansas secretary of state, but some have said HB 56 is tougher than SB 1070.

Arizona’s immigration law would have let local police ask a suspect’s immigration status, among other provisions. But that provision and some others were struck down in federal court after the Department of Justice sued Arizona over the law.

Arizona has appealed that ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has not said if it will take up the case.

Alabama’s law, like Arizona’s, has been challenged by the Justice Department and has had some provisions struck down by federal courts. A provision that would have required that public schools report students’ immigration status has been put on hold, but courts have let stand the practice of local law enforcers questioning people’s immigration status.

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Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who was on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, has said she supports Alabama’s immigration law and is confident the Supreme Court will rule in favor of Arizona and other states with similar laws.

“I feel very strongly that it will be a big win for Arizona, and for the other states,” Brewer said Wednesday at unrelated event. “And of course SB 1070 only mirrors federal law so it’s not anything different than what is already the law.”

Supporters of Alabama’s immigration said they welcomed next week’s visit by Democratic lawmakers as an opportunity for public discussion of the law and its impacts. But they said the true negative impact of illegal immigration is on those people who lose jobs to undocumented immigrants.

“The point of HB 56 was to impact the people who are contributing to illegal activity and contributing to the increase of illegal alien population in the state,” said Kristen Williamson, a spokeswoman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a conservative think tank in Washington.

Thursday’s announcement came as the Department of Homeland Security said it would start reviewing 300,000 immigration cases that are backlogged in courts. The goal of the review is to close deportation cases of immigrants who are considered a low priority.

“To address the challenge of an overcrowded immigration court system … there is an ongoing administrationwide effort to focus immigration enforcement resources on those convicted of crimes, recent border–crossers and egregious immigration law violators,” said Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Gillian Christensen in an email.

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a research group that analyzes government data, reported in September that the nation’s immigration courts hit a record high of about 300,000 cases in fiscal 2011. The Phoenix court was one of the busiest in the nation, according to TRAC, going from 6,693 cases in fiscal 2010 to a record 8,953 as of July 2011.

“At least in my district, I know that for a lot of families this (DHS review) is their last chance … even though the benefit of it is not complete,” Grijalva said Thursday.

Grijalva, who once called for a boycott of Arizona before backing away from that, said Thursday that a boycott of Alabama would be counterproductive. He said political pressure is the way to stop SB 1070–style laws.

“We need national pressure on Alabama to begin to reverse the trend,” Grijalva said.

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have your say   

Latest comments on this storyRead all 5 »

Nov 18, 2011, 5:56 pm
-4 +0

Raul, suggestion.  Why dont you stay in arizona and come out to the desert to help clean up the mountains of trash left behind by the illegal border jumpers.  Anyone with your attitude needs a good dose of reality caused by illegal immigration. Raul, check the border patrol reports to see the swarm of criminals entering our country.  Seriously Raul, open your eyes to the problem. And quit wasting the taxpayers time and money (if youre going to alabama on the taxpayers dime) by fighting states laws, which are only needed because Eric the Red, Big Sis and Barry, wont enforce the laws of the U.S. and protect American citizens.

Nov 18, 2011, 2:09 pm
-3 +0

The Washington switchboard at 202-224-3121 is already inundated with infuriated callers, who are justifiably contacting not only the House ‘Ways and Means Committee led by Majority Speak John Boehner (R-OH) on this import legislation. Whoever answers the phone explain to them you are a voter and want your policymaker to sponsor this bill.  You can also insisting that all of Congress, on both sides of the chamber co-sponsor this beneficial Bill. Every TEA PARTY member throughout America should join in communicating with every state and US Senator and Congressman.

Once we get illegal immigration under control, then ‘THE People’ can enact a standardized ‘Guest Worker’ program’ for agriculture, but with good regulated pay, conditions that must be observed. Not the incorrigible way some farmers are treating their charges today.

Attn: We must all be watchful of illegal aliens voting in the future election cycle.

Nov 18, 2011, 2:08 pm
-2 +0

No finger is pointed at any person’s race, color or spiritual dedication, but anybody who has arrived here through any means, with intent to grab as much free welfare assistance as possible. A MANDATORY E-VERIFY SYSTEM will deliver relief from illegal aliens in the labor market. Revised E-Verify is already expelling foreigners who are stealing jobs from the unfortunate 22 million workers, even though it has the Liberal press who denies its effectiveness. Unbelievable the main culprit that had an obligation to the American people through many changes of administration, have failed to close all loopholes in stringent enforcement. Not even the border fence has been completed—or any serious laws to hold businesses accountable for the damage caused by illegal alien labor. Going to Google you can help determine the terrible toll place on this nation, by out-of-control immigration.  Our strength is in our votes and you can contact your political leader through NumberrsUSA.

You can read all about corruption at Judicial Watch website, you can either contact ICE website, to report illegal aliens working. You can even join a local TEA PARTY online. You have to wonder who Obama and the Department of Justice as our Public Servants are obligated too.  It certainly not to assist the majority of the citizens and legal residents, as the President and the judicial branch have been asserting their power on Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and now Indiana. All these states want to do is inhibit economic aliens from going there and ransacking the welfare and public entitlement programs.

As of November 18, Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.) and Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.) is now co-sponsoring House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith’s Legal Workforce Act (H.R.2885.) adding to the astounding 12 more lawmakers in the last two weeks, bringing the number of co-sponsors to 65, who wanting this law to reach the floor of the house of Representatives.

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Nathan O'Neal/Cronkite News Service

Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Tucson, with Rep. Joe Baca, D-Calif., said it is 'only fitting' to take the fight against Alabama’s immigration law to that state, in return for the help and support Arizonans got from other states when SB 1070 first passed.