State legislators in 25 states (see list below) planned to introduce SB 1070 clones in upcoming legislative sessions, according to Immigration Impact. Of course, not all — or even most — of these laws will pass. However, Republicans picked up the most seats in the modern era of state legislatures in 2010 — more than Republicans did in 1994 or Democrats in the post-Watergate wave of 1974. Republicans hold both houses and the governorship in fifteen states (sixteen including Nebraska’s unicameral legislature).
Florida elected Republican Rick Scott — who ran ads against his primary opponent for his opposition to Arizona’s law — for governor along with Republican supermajorities in both chambers of the legislature. Scott supports “measures like the Arizona law.” When asked by Wolf Blitzer of CNN whether he would push the legislature to bring a bill to him, he said, “I don’t have to, the legislature’s already focused on it.”
Both House and Senate versions of immigration enforcement bills in Florida require aliens to carry documentation with them or risk being incarcerated and fined. Both bills state that nothing may prohibit local officials from “sending, receiving, or maintaining information relating to the immigration status of an individual.” If local officials do not comply, then the state attorney general may sue those officials. The Florida legislative session begins in March.
Legislators in Tennessee — which now has a Republican governor, House and Senate — plan to introduce a SB 1070-like bill in the upcoming session. The Tennessean reported that State Sen. Bill Ketron is drafting a bill that would criminalize illegal immigration, but attorneys are working to make sure the bill conforms with the state constitution. Ketron — like Arizona legislators — received help in drafting the bill from the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group that writes conservative “model legislation” for states.
Colorado is a good example of a state where a SB 1070-like bill stands no chance of passing. State Senator-elect Ken Lambert (R) said he would introduce a bill into the legislature next session. “I don’t care if it is litigated,” he said. “It is clearly something the people want. The will of the people has been ignored by Democrats for too long.” However, the Democratic governor-elect, John Hickenlooper, opposes the measure; incidentally, he defeated Tom Tancredo — who gained a national profile for his vehement opposition to illegal immigration — in the general election.[...]
If states don’t take up SB 1070-like bills, in-state tuition — or even admission to public universities — for illegal immigrants is likely to be a big issue, especially after the failure of the DREAM Act during the recent lame-duck session of the U.S. Congress.
But if the DREAM Act — allowing a path to citizenship for children brought to the U.S. illegally with their parents after completing two years of college or military service — cannot pass, it remains highly unlikely that Congress will pass any immigration reform in the near future. Which means many Republican-controlled states, unburdened by divided government, may fill in the gap.
States with SB 1070-like legislation in the works: (PDF)
Most likely to pass: Georgia, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina
Maybe: Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia
Less Likely: Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island
I consider it a triumph of our new found tolerance and diversity that it's taken so long to get into full-on, hysterical xenophobia. Believe it or not, that's progress.
I'd just note that contrary to popular myth about the Tea Partiers being only concerned with fiscal matters, this issue is very big.
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