State Sen.: Arizona needs improved image

Nov. 15, 2011 at 7:48 PM

MESA, Ariz., Nov. 15 (UPI) -- Arizona's newest state senator, Jerry Lewis, says he plans to reverse what he calls the state's dismal image on civil-rights and immigration issues.

The republican from Mesa says he encourages Arizona to adopt a similar document to the Utah Compact, which pushes for a more humane approach to immigration, The Arizona Republic in Phoenix reported Tuesday.

"The Utah Compact has had a tremendous influence on the state of Arizona and more particularly this recent election," Lewis said. "What it did was give a set of guiding principles that would help people realize that there is hope on the way. We don't need to have knee-jerk reactions to the real issues. We need to focus on principles to guide that discussion, and the Utah Compact did just that."

The Utah Compact, endorsed by many political, business and religious leaders in Utah, says the nation should find less strict ways to deal with illegal immigrants who are productive workers.

During an Oct. 6 campaign debate, Lewis said Arizona's strict border enforcement has given the state an image similar to that of "1964 Alabama."

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