States Diverge On Immigration

The Arizona Senate voted down five immigration bills on March 17 that proponents argued would crack down on illegal immigration even further than last year’s S.B. 1070, which is still suspended by court challenges. Meanwhile, Utah’s Gov. Gary Herbert on March 15 signed a series of bills that have been described as a state equivalent of the comprehensive immigration reform being sought at the national level. The measures step up enforcement but also create a guest worker program that itself is likely to face court challenges. Among the bills Arizona’s legislators rejected were some that would have required hospitals to verify patients’ legal status before admitting them for nonemergency care, required schools to collect data on immigration status and challenged the 14th Amendment’s provision for birthright citizenship. “All of the most problematic bills were defeated soundly on the Senate floor,” said Ron Johnson, executive director of the Arizona Catholic Conference.

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