More states are popping up all the time with plans to toughen up their own interior immigration policing â€” the Associated Press article below counts 18.
Many legislators aim to copy Ariz. immigration law, AP, June 25, 2010Citizens should be sure to support any state or local politicians who are actively working to protect sovereignty.
Lawmakers or candidates in as many as 18 states say they want to push similar measures when their legislative sessions start up again in 2011. Arizona-style legislation may have the best chance of passing in Oklahoma, which in 2007 gave police more power to check the immigration status of people they arrest.
Bills similar to the law Arizonaâ€™s legislature approved in April have already been introduced in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Minnesota, South Carolina and Michigan, but none will advance this year.
Business, agriculture and civil rights groups oppose such legislation, saying legal residents who are Hispanic would be unjustly harassed and that immigration is a federal rather than a state responsibility. Supporters say police will not stop people solely on the basis of skin color and argue that illegal immigrants are draining state coffers by taking jobs, using public services, fueling gang violence and filling prisons. [â€¦]
In Florida, Arizonaâ€™s law is a campaign issue in the GOP gubernatorial primary, with millionaire Rick Scott trumpeting its merits and Attorney General Bill McCollum saying he backs the law but that itâ€™s not needed in his state. Meanwhile, Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, the presumptive Republican nominee, called Arizonaâ€™s bill â€?a wonderful first step.â€?
Even lawmakers in states far from the U.S.-Mexico border say illegal immigration is hurting their constituents.
In Idaho, Monty Pearce cites one county that paid more than $100,000 for medical services for an indigent illegal immigrant. Supporters of a citizen initiative in Nevada say theyâ€™re motivated by the state budget crisis and record unemployment.
In South Carolina, state law enforcement officials say Mexican drug gangs are moving north from Atlanta â€” a problem expected to intensify given that budget cuts have left fewer resources to go toe-to-toe with armed criminal groups.
And in Nebraska, where many Hispanics have found work at meatpacking plants, some blame illegal immigrants for draining community resources. Last week, the town of Fremont approved a ban on hiring or renting property to illegal immigrants.
State Sen. Charlie Janssen of Fremont plans to introduce a bill in 2011 based at least in part on Arizonaâ€™s law. He said foes of illegal immigration must gird themselves for a fight from groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, which has vowed to sue over Fremontâ€™s measure.
â€?They shout â€?racismâ€™ and try to bring down people who are trying to enforce our laws,â€? said Janssen, a Republican in Nebraskaâ€™s officially nonpartisan legislature. â€?Itâ€™s their scare tactic.â€?