Phoenix, AZ – In the year since Governor Jan Brewer signed the measure aimed at illegal immigrants there have been boycotts, protests and even an injunction. But you won't convince Senate President Russell Pearce the legislation has been anything but an unqualified success. He said even though the state cannot enforce some of the provisions, just enacting it has had an effect.
(I talked to a U-Haul dealer, literally. It's a large U-Haul company. And he said business has never been better. That they're all one-way rentals. Salt Lake City, Colorado, New Mexico, California and others.)
Pearce said there has been a financial benefit from all that.
(We usually gain 70 to 140 net growth a month in our prison system. We're 500 inmates below where we were this time last year. That's 1,700 to 2,000 fewer inmates this last year. It's huge. I mean, there's dollars attached to every one of those. Over $30,000 attached to every one of those inmates, not counting prosecution, investigation and the victims that come with every crime.)
The governor, who signed the measure in a nationally televised event, sees the effects from a slightly different perspective.
(It has really brought more people aware of the issues that we're facing here in Arizona. And we've had an outpouring of support and encourage, from not only all over the United States but all over the world. It's been amazing what this bill has generated.)
That awareness also got action. It was not until Brewer signed the bill that President Obama found time in his schedule to meet with the governor in Washington. And it was not until that meeting that Obama made a firm commitment to put some additional National Guard troops along the southern border with Mexico, albeit only for a year. The governor acknowledged the calls for boycotts and reports of canceled conventions. She even formed a task force to deal with the image problem.
(But on the other side, we had plenty of people calling us telling us they were coming to Arizona, and they were coming now. You know. So maybe it all just sort of balanced itself out. We know today that our hospitality industry it's rising in numbers. So that's a good sign for Arizona.)
Pearce said that even with the injunction issued by U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton, several provisions of the law did take effect last year. One of those requires local police to cooperate with federal officials on issues of illegal immigration. And Pearce said just by doing that -- and allowing individuals to sue for violations -- the sanctuary policies of some cities are gone. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.