Civil Rights Groups Highlight Progress in Stopping Arizona S.B. 1070 Copycat Efforts
April 20, 2011 - Posted by Scott Simpson
In the year following the passage of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, S.B. 1070, nearly a dozen states have rejected or reconsidered similar legislation, according to a new report by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR).
The report, “One Year Later: A Look at SB 1070 and Copycat Legislation,” analyzes the economic consequences that Arizona has suffered since the passage of S.B. 1070, the concerns surrounding the passage of several immigration bills in Utah, and the failure of similar copycat legislation during the 2011 legislative session.
In a press conference call Wednesday highlighting the release of the report, civil rights leaders said widespread opposition to S.B. 1070 and the economic and legal consequences that followed its passage in Arizona has led other state legislatures to reconsider or defeat similar bills. NCLR’s report was released one week after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court decision to block parts of the controversial law.
“The evidence shows that the costs of political gambits and false solutions embodied by S.B. 1070 are too high, especially in times of economic crisis,” said Janet Murguia, president and CEO of NCLR. “We are better off as taxpayers and a nation if we focus on the real issues, come up with actual solutions, and work to finally fix the problem at the federal level.”
Following the passage of S.B. 1070, nearly half of the nation’s state legislatures were considering similar laws. However, amid growing concern about the hidden costs and growing public opposition—from the business community, law enforcement officials, and civil rights, faith, labor, and social justice organizations—many of these laws have suffered setback or defeat. None of the SB 1070 copycats bills proposed in 2010 passed, and 11 states have already defeated similar legislation this year. Only Georgia has passed a version of S.B. 1070.
“In the year since S.B. 1070 became law in Arizona, an outcry of opposition has come from all corners of this country, and rightly so,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “S.B. 1070 and its progeny offer false solutions that come attached with a host of negative consequences for states. They encourage racial profiling, add millions of dollars to the cost of law enforcement, demonize entire communities, make states vulnerable to expensive legal battles, and put an unconscionably high price on human dignity."
Murguia and Henderson were joined on the press call by Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center; Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank; and John Livengood, president of the Indiana restaurant Association.
According to the report, “as the lessons from Arizona continue to spread and opposition grows—including voices from the business community, local law enforcement, and civil rights, faith, social justice, and immigrant advocacy groups—there could be both a greater realization how a patchwork of state laws adds chaos to an already dysfunctional immigration system as well as renewed pressure on Congress to deliver the real solutions that it alone has jurisdiction over.”