Thursday, May 6, 2010
Arizona is Not the First State to Take Immigration Matters into their Own Hands: Local Measures on the Rise with Twelve States Considering Similar Laws
According to the Immigration Policy Center, Arizona's controversial new immigration law (SB 1070) is the latest in a long line of efforts to regulate immigration at the state level. Yet while the Grand Canyon State's foray into immigration law is one of the most extreme and punitive, other states have also attempted to enforce federal law through state-specific measures and sanctions. Oklahoma and Georgia have recently passed measures, with mixed constitutional results, aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration through state enforcement. Legislators in 45 states introduced 1,180 bills and resolutions in the first quarter of 2010 alone, compared to 570 in all of 2006. While some of the state laws are beneficial to immigrants, others, including Arizona SB 1070 are overreaching and misguided. Twelve states - Arkansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Utah - have introduced or are considering introducing similar legislation. This leap into federal enforcement, however, represents a disturbing trend fueled by the lack of comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level.