Copying Arizona Not Working for Many States

The Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), February 2, 2011

SOME conservative members of the Oklahoma Legislature are eager to pass an immigration reform law that’s every bit as stout as the one signed into law last year in Arizona. House Speaker Kris Steele and Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman aren’t in such a hurry, wisely suggesting that law enforcement and others who deal with this issue every day be consulted before moving forward.

Lawmakers, Bingman said recently, need to “identify what the problem is.” They also might want to see how copying Arizona’s law has worked out for other states. The short answer: not very well.

A major reason for this is money–most states are hurting, badly, as a result of the recession and thus have no way to pay for the changes that Arizona-style immigration reform would mandate, such as having police become much more involved in enforcing immigration laws. Oklahoma’s treasury is certainly hurting, with a budget deficit of about $600 million forecast for the next fiscal year.

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In Florida, a bill that not long ago seemed headed for approval “appears to be on life support,” the Post reported. Immigration bills in Utah remain in the pipeline, but have been slowed after appeals by leaders from the business, law enforcement and education communities urged moderation.

We have seen that in Oklahoma, where business leaders and others have urged Republican leadership to focus on jobs and the economy. The same has occurred in Texas, where according to the Post more than three dozen immigration bills have been filed.

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Most states are hurting, badly, due to the recession and thus have no way to pay for changes mandated in Arizona-style immigration reform.

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