States Following Arizona`s Lead—But Only With Baby Steps So Far

Even if the Republican leadership
in the House were truly dedicated to enacting
patriotic immigration reform,
the Democrats still
control the Senate and the White House. Enacting
productive legislation on the federal level will be
tough.

As I wrote in my previous column

Fighting Birthright Citizenship: Will GOP Congressional
Leadership Hide Behind The States (Again)?
, the
next frontier is barring

“anchor babies”
from state citizenship. But there are a number
of avenues that

states can take to tackle illegal immigration,
and a
variety of measures have already been passed.

States can bar illegal aliens from
receiving in-state tuition (or better yet, attending any
higher education—it`s as easy to use E-Verify on
universities as jobsites, and


Plyler vs. Doe
doesn`t cover universities),
receiving

driver`s licenses
, and any non-federally-mandated
services (i.e. other than

emergency room care
and

primary education
). They can make more stringent

voter-ID laws
to prevent

illegal aliens from voting.
They can mandate
E-Verify for government contractors, or better yet every
business. They can enter in 287(g) programs to empower
local law enforcement.

And of course, there is w:st="on">Arizona`s SB 1070; which, among many other
things, empowers law enforcement officials to check the
legal status of those they come across through lawful
contact.

1070 restarted the debate on
immigration, and the

Obama administration`s lawsuit
against Arizona sent
his approval ratings staggering

downward.

Within weeks of its passage,
legislators in dozens of other states introduced
copy-cat legislation. The national immigration debate
began to center around this one bill. A number of new
Republican governors including Nathan Deal of
Georgia
,

Nikki Haley
of South Carolina,
Tom Corbett of w:st="on">Pennsylvania,

Brian Sandoval
of Nevada,
Bill Haslam of w:st="on">Tennessee, and Rick Scott of w:st="on">Florida, all campaigned on enacting SB 1070.

But, thus far, not one of them has
done a thing to push through such a bill.

This is not to say the new crop of
governors have been completely useless on immigration.

Hispanic New Mexico governor
Susanna Martinez—who said she does not support SB
1070—issued an

executive order
rescinding Bill Richardson`s
sanctuary policies and requiring police to look at the
immigration status of criminal suspects (though
forbidding them to do so with witnesses and victims to
crimes.)

Rick Scott issued an executive
order

requiring all employers to use E-Verify
. However he

seemed to back off
a campaign pledge to require it
for all employers.

Scott spoke at the Hispanic
Leadership Network pander-fest, and avoided the issue
completely.

When pressed by reporters, he
stated, albeit clumsily, that he still supported the
basic premise of Arizona law
“So, if you are in our country, and you`re stopped – just like if I get
stopped for speeding – you`re stopped, uh, for violating
the law, you should be asked whether you`re legal or
not.”
However, when pressed if he would actually
help push the bill forward he was evasive. NBC Miami
reported, “The
Governor was asked when he intends to help legislators
draft his immigration reform and whether he`s sensed
opposition from Latin or Hispanic leader…He wouldn`t
answer either question.”

For a SB 1070 style bill to pass in w:st="on">Florida, forceful intervention by the
governor may be essential. Sen. Mike Bennett who
co-sponsored the bill now says, “I
might not even vote for it myself,”
citing the
baseless concerns over

racial profiling.
[Opposition
Building to Gov. Scott`s "Arizona-Style" Immigration
Reform
, Jeff Burnside, February 4, 2011]

Utah,
where voters kicked out pro-amnesty Republicans like
Chris Cannon and Bill Bennett for immigration patriots
in 2008 and 2010 should be ripe for an w:st="on">Arizona bill. However, the day after Rep.
Sandstrom introduced one, the
Mormon Church issued a vaguely worded statement on
immigration
clearly aimed to divert it.

In
Georgia
, Governor
Nathan Deal is also backing off of SB 1070 campaign
promises. According to a Deal spokesman Brian Robinson,

“He would like to see us move to something that resembles a statewide
287(g) program, it is already federal law. Let`s go with
what we know works — with what we have seen working in
Gwinnett, Hall, Whitfield and Cobb counties — and that
we know will keep the state out of court.”

[Court
challenge predicted for Arizona-style bill aimed at
illegal immigration
, by Jeremy Redmon,
Atlanta Journal
Constitution
, January 26, 2011]

There is a serious problem with
this calculation: the 287(g) program requires the good
faith of the Obama administration. But in

2009
, the Administration

revised ICE`s 287(g)
agreements to bar law
enforcement from checking immigration status beyond
anyone who also committed a serious crime.

Of course, the vast majority of
illegal aliens are not

rapists
, drug dealers, or

murderers
. This does not change the fact that they
impose huge

fiscal
,

social and political
costs upon American citizens.
The 287(g) legislation is a valuable tool to help local
law enforcement, but with Obama running ICE, it cannot
have close to the same impact as SB 1070.

Nathan Deal`s apparent turnaround
on SB 1070 is the most disappointing. Deal had one of
the strongest immigration records in Congress. More
importantly, he won the nomination almost solely on his
strong support of immigration control. As I wrote after
his victory,

“Two weeks before the primary, Deal was in a distant w:st="on">Third Place. He focused his campaign on
his tough record against immigration and received last
minute endorsements from Tom Tancredo and Virgil Goode.
After the runoff, Bay Buchanan, Team w:st="on">America
PAC, and SB 1070 author Russell Pearce endorsed him.”

[Immigration
Patriot Nathan Deal on the
Verge of Victory
WINS in Georgia
,

August 11, 2010]

I am sure Deal will sign an w:st="on">Arizona style bill if it comes to his desk.
But I expected him to push for it.

Still, this is not to say that we
must have a governor pushing the legislation. Jan Brewer did nothing
to promote SB 1070 prior to its passage and let it

sit on her desk for a week before signing it.

With strong grassroots activist and
leaders in the state legislature, bills can get through,
and any Republican governor who does not want a primary
opponent knows better than to veto it.

In
Mississippi
, Arizona-style
legislation passed both the House and Senate, though the
two versions need to be reconciled. Governor Haley
Barbour is not running for reelection, but is
considering running for president.
According to
Numbers USA, he has the worst immigration record in his
public statements as any other Republican candidate. I
have no doubt that he desperately wants to avoid having
to come out for or against SB 1070, but my guess is that
he will end up signing it. Which will be a huge victory.

Not all patriotic immigration
reform advocates think it`s important for another state
to pass 1070 legislation.

Mark Krikorian told the
Washington Post

"Obviously most
places were not going to pass
Arizona

bills. There`s always an initial flush of enthusiasm and
then the reality of politics sets in. . . . These states
are bankrupt – they need to decide what battles they
want to fight.”

The article continues,
But Krikorian also said that
the w:st="on">Arizona bill has `done what it was supposed
to do` by creating a national discussion on immigration
reform in the absence of federal legislation.

The post also quotes FAIR`s
Dan Stein:


“Dan Stein, president of the
Federation for American Immigration Reform, which
supports tougher immigration restrictions, said states
will probably bite off the small pieces of the w:st="on">Arizona bill that fit their constituencies.
`There is tremendous interest . . . in emulating
portions of the w:st="on">Arizona model,` he said. `But no one size
fits all.` One area in which many states are finding
consensus is with `E-Verify` legislation, which requires
businesses to use an Internet-based system to check the
legal status of prospective employees. But when it comes
to more restrictive laws, there is less agreement.”
[Arizona-inspired
immigration bills lose momentum in other states
,
by Lois Romano, Washington Post, January 29, 2011]

But here, I must depart
from my fellow Beltway patriotic immigration reformers.
While we should encourage E-Verify, 287(g), and other
positive steps, it is absolutely essential for more
states to pass Arizona-style Legislation.

The people of
Arizona

are sick of carrying the weight for the entire country
on immigration control. They are

demonized
as

racists, extremists, and nut-jobs
by the Main Stream
Media and the Left. The shooting of

Gabrielle Giffords
, though it had absolutely nothing
to do with immigration, escalated these attacks.

Another state passing SB 1070 makes
a statement that w:st="on">Arizona is not alone. It
also makes boycotts much more difficult.

And focusing on other aspects of
local immigration control do not make things any better.


Arizona


raised millions of dollars for
their legal defense
fund, and if a few other states pass the law, and they
are joint defendants, the costs will be marginal. If the
courts are the sole issue, future states could add a
rider to the bill saying that it will not go in effect
until after the Supreme Court rules on SB 1070.

Moreover, using E-Verify and 287(g)
are not immune from litigation. Arizona has the toughest
E-Verify laws on the book with the

Legal Arizona Workers Act,
which they have had to
litigate up to the Supreme Court. There is a good
possibility that it will end up with a 4-4 decision (Kagan

recused
herself) meaning that other states that pass
E-Verify laws will have to litigate it in lower courts.
 The Justice
Department is

suing
Maricopa County Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio for
concocted civil right violations based in part on raids
he made under 287(g.)

The Obama administration, and the
dozens of business, ideological, and ethnic legal
foundations with budgets in the tens of millions of
dollars with whom the Justice Department colludes, will
sue any minor attempt to restrict immigration on the
local level. Both the

Schumer-Menendez-Reid
Senate plan and the

Ortiz-Gutierrez Comprehensive Immigration Reform ASAP
would nullify all state immigration laws in addition
to respectively restricting and eliminating 287(g)

For other states to support Arizona
would send an important message: that these states don`t
 care what the
Obama administration, the ACLU, and La Raza think; and
that

they will stand with the American People
—who tell
poll after poll that they

support SB 1070.

"Washington Watcher" [email
him
] is an anonymous source Inside The
Beltway.