Photo: No shame signs this time. Arizona strikes down 5 immigration bills.
Thursday, five bills with undocumented immigration at their cores, were struck down by the Arizona Senate. This was a severe departure from last year’s implementation of a harsh local law enforcement measure that shined a glaring spotlight on the state and its treatment of the Hispanics.
Those critical of the defeated bills believed them to be erroneous, and said they were just shadowing the much bigger issues the state needs to deal with first.
“It’s time for us to take a timeout,” said Republican Sen. John McComish of Phoenix. “It’s something that the people don’t want us to be focusing on.”
Republicans were divided on the five bills. Two of the proposals were intended to force the U.S. Supreme Court to rule against birthright citizenship if the child was born to undocumented immigrants. The remaining bills were for heath care, public services, and activities such as driving.
After the ruling, Democratic Minority Leader David Schapira of Tempe said, “I’m hopeful that now we can move on and focus on the business of the state.”
One of the bills, sponsored by SB1070 sponser Republican Sen. Russell Pearce, would have made it a crime for undocumented immigrants to drive in Arizona, and also included provisions on public benefits and aid, registering vehicles, and workplace hiring. The bill also would have required the eviction of those residing in public housing if they allowed undocumented to live with them.
Also included in Pearce’s proposal was the ban on undocumented students attending Arizona public universities and community colleges. Currently, they are allowed to attend these schools, but must pay out-of-state tuition rates.
The other two bills would have required hospitals and schools to contact federal immigration authorities if patients can’t provide insurance or legal status documentation, or file reports on enrollment unauthorized immigrant students.
Wednesday, a letter from the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce was signed by CEOs of major employers and other business groups who believed additional measures taken against undocumented residents would further negatively effect the economy and the state’s tourism.
“Arizona’s lawmakers and citizens are right to be concerned about illegal immigration,” the letter said. “But we must acknowledge that when Arizona goes it alone on this issue, unintended consequences inevitably occur.”
Democrats unanimously voted against all five bills, with Republican were slit on two of the bills.