Immigration: Which state is the next Arizona?
While Arizona is fighting to enact all parts of its controversial immigration law, several other states are looking at similar measures...
Even after a federal judge blocked the most controversial measures from taking effect, almost 20 states are considering hard-line Arizona-style immigration laws. Here are four that might adopt one in the near future:
VIRGINIAWhat's happening: Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli issued a legal opinion that Virginia police can (but don't have to) ask for immigration documents during arrests and routine stops — essentially a voluntary version of the Arizona law. Prince William County has already adopted a measure requiring police to ask about the immigration status of anyone they arrest. (Watch a local report about the push to make it Virginia law)Pro: "It is my opinion that Virginia law enforcement officers, including conservation officers may, like Arizona police officers, inquire into the immigration status of persons stopped or arrested." Ken CuccinelliCon: "Is it going to affect a single thing? The answer is no. A majority of the police forces won't bother with it... We don't have a dictatorship in Virginia." State Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw (D)
UTAHWhat's happening: State Rep. Stephen Sandstrom (R) is preparing a widely anticipated immigration bill that will largely mirror Arizona's. Sandstrom says he will modify some of the provisions that landed the Arizona law in hot water, such as making it illegal to solicit work in public places and allowing for warrantless arrests.Pro: My bill "still has the same goals — to let people know in Utah we enforce the law... I almost want to stop calling it the Arizona-style bill. I want to start calling it the Utah immigration enforcement bill." Stephen SandstromCon: "Sandstrom and others should cool their heels over having Utah try to emulate Arizona. If a similar bill is passed and signed into law in Utah, its implementation will certainly be delayed... State legislators would be wasting taxpayers' time and money if they go ahead with legislation." Editorial, Ogden Standard-Examiner
FLORIDAWhat's happening: State Republicans are preparing an Arizona-style bill for the next legislative session, and both GOP candidates for governor support enacting such a law in Florida.Pro: In Arizona, "we have one federal judge making a ruling. That ruling is not binding on the state of Florida in any way." State Rep. William Snyder (R)Con: "It's not my job to figure out who's documented or undocumented. We're going to go after the people who are undocumented and are committing crimes." Clearwater Police Chief Tony Holloway
TEXASWhat's happening: State Republicans are proposing a bill for the upcoming legislative session that's broadly in line with the Arizona law; the state GOP platform opposes "amnesty" and proposes making it a Class A misdemeanor "for an illegal alien to intentionally or knowingly be within the state of Texas," among other measures.Pro: "The first priority of any elected official should be to make sure that the safety and security of the citizens is well-established." State Rep. Debbie Riddle (R)Con: "In Tejas, Latinos are indigenous and as ubiquitous as bluebonnets... What the Texas GOP drafted was a pact with the devil." Ruben Navarrette, The Washington Post