NECN, January 23, 2012
Supporters and opponents of Arizona’s controversial immigration law are squaring off again after Democrats said they’re working to repeal the measure.
Dozens of protesters gathered at the state Capitol on Monday, carrying signs and shouting at each other as lawmakers on both sides discussed the 2010 law, known as Senate Bill 1070.
Democratic Sen. Steve Gallardo of Phoenix announced Monday afternoon that he is introducing a bill to repeal the law, which he says is polarizing and has harmed the state’s reputation.
“It has done nothing to solve any of our immigration issues here in the state of Arizona,” he said.
Republican lawmakers, who held their own rally to reiterate their support for the law, say Gallardo’s proposal will go nowhere in the Legislature.
A federal judge has blocked enforcement of the immigration law’s most contentious sections, such as a requirement that police, while enforcing other laws, question people’s immigration status if officers suspect they are in the country illegally. But the judge allowed other sections to take effect, including a ban on blocking of traffic when people seek or offer day-labor services on streets.
The state’s appeal of the ruling is now awaiting review from the U.S. Supreme Court.
Democratic opponents of the law are emboldened by the recall of the law’s author and a flagging public interest in immigration enforcement laws.
Demonstrators opposed to the law held signs that read “No racist raids. Full rights for all immigrants,” and chanted “1070 has got to go!”
Meanwhile, the law’s supporters broke into song with “God Bless America,” and later drowned out Democratic lawmakers during a news conference by chanting “1070 works!”
Gallardo’s repeal bill has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee, headed by Sen. Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu.
“I have a special drawer in my desk where bills go that are never going to come back out,” Gould said. “That’s where that bill is going.”
Gallardo said he knows the bill isn’t likely to get a hearing, but he wants to start a discussion among lawmakers. Gallardo said he hopes to gather enough support among lawmakers to force a hearing on his proposal.