Ariz. immigration bills given slim chance

Feb. 13, 2012 at 7:04 PM
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PHOENIX, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Arizona Republican lawmakers looking to retake the mantle for the nation's toughest immigration laws have slim chances, experts say.

In 2011, Alabama overtook Arizona in installing measures focusing on illegal immigration by passing a measure exceeding Arizona's infamous Senate Bill 1070, The Arizona Republic reported.

Arizona state Sen. Steve Smith sponsored Senate Bill 1444 that would require school districts to tally the number of illegal-immigrant students attending their schools. He also proposed Senate Bill 1445 that would mandate hospital personnel to tell police about any illegal-immigrant patients asking for care and compile an annual report of data on those patients. The bills would not prevent schools from teaching students or doctors from providing medical treatment.

While some Republican legislators say they hope to take back the distinction of being the toughest state when it comes to undocumented aliens, their hopes might be in vain because congressional focus is elsewhere. As James Carville said when he was working for Bill Clinton during the 1992 presidential campaign: "It's the economy, stupid."

Anjali Abraham, public-policy director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, said she's observing the bills but doesn't expect them to pass.

"I think there are enough people who want to move on from this kind of thing and focus on jobs and the economy and other issues," Abraham said.

Republican senators who voted down the same bills in 2011 are still here this year, the newspaper reported Sunday.

Their opposition to the measures was mostly centered on the negative effect they would have on the business community in Arizona.

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