Mar. 16, 2011 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic
More boycotts, more protests, more lost business. Arizona doesn't need this.
The state Senate is looking at a reckless, costly and counterproductive package of immigration bills.
Senate President Russell Pearce said, in a meeting with the Editorial Board, that he saw no downside to last year's misguided Senate Bill 1070.
Sixty top Arizona executives know the reality. In a virtually unprecedented move, they sent a joint letter to Pearce urging him not to pass any more immigration bills.
These are the leaders who cross the economic spectrum in Arizona, from health care and development to tourism and automotive. Their company names are familiar: US Airways, PetSmart, Sunbelt Holdings, Intel Corp. They include The Arizona Republic.
They can point to the cancellations, the missed opportunities and the lost jobs.
They know how much Arizona, a state that depends so much on tourism, feels the bite of controversial legislation that clouds our reputation.
SB 1070 created such a noxious cloud of bad P.R. that Gov. Jan Brewer put $250,000 into repairing the state's image.
And now the Senate is deciding whether to give Arizona another self-inflicted bad eye.
Imagine the spectacle of mass protests as Arizona hosts Major League Baseball's All-Star Game for the first time in July.
Arizona is getting a global brand, and it's not the Grand Canyon State, but the place that is hostile to Hispanics and immigrants. The latest package of bills is profoundly divisive in a state with a Hispanic population of 30 percent - and growing.
There's a problem: The federal government hasn't dealt with illegal immigration. But it requires a federal solution.
Arizona's latest package of immigration measures is particularly misdirected.
There's the unilateral attempt to revoke birthright citizenship and reinterpret more than a century of rulings on the 14th Amendment, an issue that is clearly not for individual states to decide.
There's the preposterous attempt to turn hospitals into immigration agents, requiring them to check the status of emergency-room patients. This would be expensive and legally difficult, if not impossible and outright dangerous (if you're injured while jogging and don't have ID with you, do you want the E.R. to waste time trying to figure out if you're legal?).
And then there's the "omnibus" immigration bill, which vacuums up half-baked ideas that range from driving to education.
The unintended consequences are breathtaking. And so risky that 60 executives are sounding the alarm. The Senate should listen.
(Source: AZ Republic)