State Capitol News
Wed February 23, 2011
Senate Apporved Four Separate Proposals Aimed at Illegal Immigration
Phoenix, AZ – Two of the measures deal with a single issue: who is a citizen.
One seeks to limit Arizona citizenship -- and by extension U.S.
citizenship -- to cases where at least one parent is a citizen or
permanent legal resident. The other sets up a system of two
separate birth certificates, one when parents can provide that
proof, the other in cases when they cannot. Glenn Hamer,
president of the state chamber of commerce, said he thinks the
issue should be left to Congress. That drew a sharp rebuke from
Sen. Ron Gould, the sponsor of the measures. He noted the chamber
sued to kill 2007 legislation allowing a judge to suspend or
revoke the licenses of companies found guilty of knowingly hiring
undocumented workers. And the chamber did not support last year's
comprehensive immigration bill.
(I think you're opposition's clearly transparent. I think that
your group is open borders because you like cheap labor. And
that's why you went after us on employer sanctions. That's why
you're hand wringing on 1070. That's why you've been on TV
calling this bill a loser.)
Hamer did concede there was a business interest in opposing this
(These type of controversial issues make it less likely for
conventions to come to Arizona. There's a reason why the tourism
industry, which employs around 200,000 people all across the
state is very concerned.)
He said the fallout from last year's SB 1070 has resulted in
Arizona, once in the top 5 destinations nationwide, now closer to
25th. Another bill is far more complex. It includes a series of
changes in laws governing everything from education and housing
to employment. Senate President Russell Pearce said action is
needed because the federal government, in his words, is complicit
in the damage and the destruction of this nation for its failure
to secure the border and enforce the laws.
(States must rise up. Once they step across the border, once they
step one foot across that border, they're in Arizona. Now it
becomes my obligation to protect the citizens of the state and
ensure those laws are enforced.)
Pearce defended one specific provision in the legislation which
would bar illegal immigrants from attending state universities
and community colleges.
(It's a felony to hire them if they're in this country illegally.
The nexus is very simply, this is about taxpayer money, this is
about space in university that should be reserved for legal,
lawful students. And it's about encouragement to those who break
the laws because there's some reward at the end. And I think it's
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema said that punishes students who were brought
to this country as small children by their parents. But Pearce
said it's not only a violation to enter the country illegally but
also to remain here unlawfully. And he said that, at some point,
these teens realized they were breaking the law. Sen. Rich
Crandall objected to another provision requiring motorists to
prove legal presence in the country or face 30 days in jail.
(It's the type of thing that completely undoes the entire Arizona
tourism package we just launched two weeks ago. This is not what
we stand for. I don't want people flying in for the big golf
tournament or the auto auction and have to bring their birth
certificate with them when they show up at Sky Harbor.)
The final bill in the package requires hospitals to seek
information on those seeking care to see if they are in this
country legally. While the revised version no longer denies non-
emergency admission to those without the documents, Steve Barclay
who lobbies for the Mayo Clinic noted it still requires hospital
officials to notify federal immigration authorities.
(We're caregivers. We are not in the business of immigration
enforcement and we tend to somewhat resent the idea that we would
be conscripted into the immigration enforcement army.)
Sen. Steve Smith, who crafted the measure, said he's willing to
work with the hospitals to make the proposal more acceptable to
them -- as long as they still make some effort to track those who
should not be in this country in the first place. For Arizona
Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.