Rejecting SB1070, States Advance Progressive Immigration Policy

Rejecting SB1070, States Advance Progressive Immigration Policy

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This week, as the White House announced plans for yet another push on federal comprehensive immigration reform, a network of lawmakers so far representing 28 states — from border states to the heartland — announced their rejection of Arizona’s mean-spirited and economically disastrous approach to immigrants, SB1070.

By introducing progressive state measures that effectively integrate immigrants into the community—rather than alienating them from their neighbors--these legislators are pointing the way toward immigration reform while also expanding opportunities for all residents and workers.

The group, State Legislators for Progressive Immigration Policy, outlined its vision for change at a press briefing this week. They highlighted measures now in place or that legislators are currently advancing.

At the briefing, participants described a range of positive measures, such as those that promote community policing, prevent wage theft and provide basic health care coverage for legal immigrant children. The lawmakers demonstrated how sensible, inclusive and often cost-effective approaches to immigration policy are progressing in some states, providing a stark contrast to the alarmist legislation in Arizona.

In Iowa, for example, wage-enforcement legislation that expands opportunities and defends the rights of all workers passed the State Senate in 2008. Although it was not enacted, legislators will introduce a similar bill in 2011.

According to Iowa State Senator Joe Bolkcom, the bill’s sponsor, protecting all workers from bad-apple employers—those who attempt to cheat their employees out of fair pay and safe working conditions--will benefit workers across the board.

Bolkcom’s state plays home to one of the nation’s most infamous examples of worker exploitation: the Agriprocessors meatpacking plant, in Postville, Iowa. Its owners were charged with violating the workplace rights of over 300 immigrant workers.

"Our legislation targets employers who want to take advantage of any Iowa worker, including newcomers, because all workers deserve protection from exploitation," Bolkcom stated. "It will defend the rights of workers, strengthen families and strengthen Iowa communities."
In Utah, progressive efforts to restore fairness in health care to legal immigrant children have, during the past two years, come close to passing in the legislature.

The legislation, proposed by Utah State Senator Luz Robles would enable legal immigrant children to receive preventive medical care through the federally-funded Medicaid and State Child Health Plus (SCHIP) programs without the current five year waiting period for immigrants included in President Obama’s recently passed health care package.

"The removal of the waiting period for legal immigrants who are playing by the rules to receive coverage is simply good public policy from a health care perspective," noted Robles. "We introduced and will continue to advance it, because our number one priority is getting more children health care coverage."

In Pennsylvania, legislators have taken the lead in efforts to introduce and advance community policing and anti-racial profiling legislation. Such measures would bar state and local law enforcement officers from taking on the added responsibility of enforcing federal immigration laws, while helping to curb incidents of racial profiling in the event they are required to by courts or the law.

Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach explained that the progressive approach is favored by the law enforcement community. "Police chiefs around the nation have made the point that the obligation contained in the Arizona law to enforce federal immigration law will undermine their ability to do their jobs," Leach noted.

As pro-immigrant legislation moves forward, Arizona’s economy is already reeling from the negative economic effects of SB1070. "Despite the claims of its supporters, Arizona's SB1070 actually does nothing to address violence at the border and presents obstacles for law enforcement professionals, who want to provide good community policing," explained State Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.

The failure of Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform is increasing the pressure on state and local governments to address the issue within their own jurisdictions. Progressive state legislators continue to be ahead of the curve in filling this vacuum by exploring effective ways to incorporate immigrants into their communities rather than driving them out--and missing the mark.

Hopefully, such state-led efforts will help spur national change--change that is sorely needed.



Posted Jul 2 2010

This isn't news. Its a political flyer by the Progressive States Network.

I don't know why Google News reports it as a news article.
Calling SB1070 "mean spirited" is like calling laws against breaking and entering "mean spirited" against burglars.


Posted Jul 2 2010

Yeah, anonymous, you're right, it's not "mean spirited' It's outright racist. It is more like saying "Children who jaywalk must be jailed." It's funny how they use some immigrants who had no choice but to use the legal choice (I can't visualize any Indians swimming across the Pacific or Atlantic) and sneaking into the country) to make a point which is not relevant. Then they'll use the "My ancestors came in legally" when they didn't apply for legal entry until they were at Ellis Island. Maybe they should have required those immigrants to be approved before they left the Green Isle, or Great Britain. Better yet, they should have asked the American Indians if they could immigrate legally rather than invade their land.


Posted Jul 3 2010

This view is good for our community and for our country as America


Posted Jul 15 2010

Besides stepping on the toes on the Federal Aliens and Seditions Acts, I wonder if Arizona's SB1070 might be also infringing upon interstate commerce?

I think both sides of this debate can agree that the issue of undocumented immigrations are largely economic. Therefore, as SB1070 begins to affect the quantity of available skilled labor from the south that almost ALL of the states are beginning to depend on, I wonder how long it could be before some states start to sue Arizona.

Two of the four corner states do not have ready access to the US-Mexican border and so could be the first amongst the States to feel a labor crunch. Ever wonder how that Vegas Hotel room is always spotless? Or how Colorado packs its beef?

If YOU needed to re-tile your kitchen would you choose a meth-addict or a crackhead or Hose A and Hose B from the local Home Depot parking lot? Of course you would go with Hose A and Hose B. It is simple economics. They do quality work at reasonable prices.

Just out of curiosity, how many of you immediately thought "meth-addict=white" and "crackhead=black"? Don't lie. You know you did.

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