The passage of an Arizona voter initiative that blocks some public services for illegal immigrants has energized similar movements in other states, including California, and could influence the national immigration debate, say the initiative’s backers and experts on immigration.
The momentum from Arizona could carry over, in particular to Colorado and California, where efforts are underway to get similar measures on ballots in 2006, say some analysts and groups favoring a crackdown on illegal immigration.
“It encourages us,” said Rick Oltman, western field director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which supports the proposed California “Save Our License” measure. “It shows, up against all odds, we can win.”
The proposed Colorado and California measures are patterned in part after Arizona’s Proposition 200.
Mike Spence, president of the California Republican Assembly, the group behind the California initiative, said the group had gathered about 100,000 signatures since September. At least 500,000 more need to be collected by February to qualify the measure for the ballot, he said.