PHOENIX – Arizona legislators took a timeout from illegal immigration with the Senate easily defeating five related bills, reflecting little appetite for an issue that made the state the focus of national debate and protest last year.
Majority Republicans were split Thursday in their votes on the defeated bills, which included two measures intended to force a U.S. Supreme Court ruling against automatic citizenship for U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants. The other three dealt with health care, public services and everyday activities such as driving.
Supporters of the measures voiced frustration and said there could be political fallout for lawmakers who voted against them.
"The lack of political courage" is the only impediment to step up pressure on illegal immigration, said Republican Sen. Russell Pearce, the sponsor of the 2010 law.
But business leaders have been urging lawmakers to put the issue aside to avoid damaging the still-ailing economy.
The 2010 law known as SB1070 resulted in protests, boycotts and legal challenges. A federal judge has put key provisions on hold.
"It's time for us to take a timeout," said Republican Sen. John McComish of Phoenix. "It's something that the people don't want us to be focusing on."
Critics also said the bills rejected Thursday were over-reaching and flawed.
The two bills on citizenship were defeated on votes of 12-18 and 11-19 as majority Republicans split on the issue. The chamber's nine Democrats voted against all of the bills.
"I'm hopeful that now we can move on and focus on the business of the state," Democratic Minority Leader David Schapira of Tempe said after the three-hour floor session.
One of the rejected bills would have required hospitals to contact federal immigration officials or local law enforcement if people being treated lack insurance and can't demonstrate legal status.
Critics said that would burden hospitals, but Republican Sen. Steve Smith of Maricopa said his bill didn't require much.
"Maybe you forgot it's illegal to be in this country illegally," he said during the vote on his bill. "We just ask them to report the crime, not be the judge and executioner."
Also defeated was a bill to require schools to file reports on enrollments of illegal immigrant students.
The fifth bill was a sweeping measure sponsored by Pearce. It would have made it a crime for illegal immigrants to drive in Arizona. It also had provisions on registering vehicles, workplace hiring and various public benefits.
Answer by vbruno at 8:37 AM on Mar. 18, 2011
Answer by gemgem at 8:38 AM on Mar. 18, 2011
Answer by stacymomof2 at 8:54 AM on Mar. 18, 2011
Answer by JenzAmomOf2 at 9:00 AM on Mar. 18, 2011
POLITICIANS AND THEIR NEXT ELECTIONS.
No, really, the conservatives like anchor babies now and paying for illegals cradle to grave is no longer the pain in the azz it has been, since the country is broke.
Conservatives have had a change of mind!
Love it all now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Answer by mustbeGRACE at 9:32 AM on Mar. 18, 2011
" two measures intended to force a United States Supreme Court ruling against automatic citizenship for American-born children of illegal immigrants."
I would imagine these bill were moreso political statements and less about the actual content of the bill becoming law. The others? I think it's because of the economy. Once the economy is on a long term upward trend, I wouldn't be surprised if we see these types of bill re-surface...
Answer by grlygrlz2 at 10:34 AM on Mar. 18, 2011
Answer by itsmesteph11 at 10:44 AM on Mar. 18, 2011