Arizona-Style Rebellions Over Immigration Spread

May 6, 2010 05:42

Even as liberals and the Obama administration have questioned its legality, the Arizona reform to stop illegal immigration is drawing widespread support in opinion polls and in state capitals across the country. Legislators in nearly a dozen states are considering tough new laws against illegal immigration that mimic the Arizona measure.

By: David A. Patten at

Legislators in nearly a dozen states are considering tough new laws against illegal immigration that mimic the Arizona measure that has triggered a firestorm of controversy nationwide.

The combination of polls showing increasing voter frustration with federal enforcement efforts, plus the growing fiscal pressure on states facing major budget problems, has emboldened conservative legislators to eye state-level reforms similar to those recently signed into law by Arizona GOP Gov. Jan Brewer.

“The intensity is still there. It’s growing,” says Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a group that generally supports stronger border-control efforts.

Mehlman tells Newsmax: “Whatever talk there is of any federal response is unfortunately the kind of response that most people oppose: Amnesty for illegal aliens, coupled with promises that ‘We’ll try to do better next time.’ And I don’t think the American people are going to buy that. They were fooled once in 1986. George Bush tried to fool them again in 2007. And they said no.”

The Arizona measure directs police to question lawful residency only after individuals have been stopped on reasonable suspicion of having violated another law. It directs police to verify residency if suspects are unable to produce documentation, provide a Social Security number, or otherwise establish their legal residency. The law has sparked widespread protests by pro-immigration groups nationwide.

Despite that backlash, conservative lawmakers in North Carolina, Maryland, Colorado, Missouri, Ohio, and several other states are considering following Arizona’s lead via state legislation to stem the tide of illegal immigration. If nothing else, their support for further restrictions on illegal immigration indicates they see it as a winning political issue.

One reason state legislators aren’t intimidated by threats of legal action from the Obama administration, as well as from a host of pro-immigrant groups: A plethora of polls suggesting state-level legislation, in the absence of stiffer federal enforcement and border control, would be very popular with voters.


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