Twenty-five states are considering “copycat” immigration laws similar to the one passed in Arizona last year. And with 680 new Republican legislators elected in the 2010 GOP landslide, including control of both houses and the governorship in 15 states (16 if you include Nebraska’s unicameral legislature), a good number of them are expected to pass and be signed into law.
Georgia, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Tennessee all have “some combination of the following: a re-elected, highly motivated potential bill sponsor, an already introduced measure similar to Arizona or a legislature-approved resolution supporting Arizona’s SB 1070, as well as a conservative Governor and a conservative majority in the legislature,” according to the National Immigration Forum, a pro-illegal immigration group.
After Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed the law on April 21, 2010, “overnight, Arizona became home to the nation’s harshest and most controversial immigration law and simultaneously created a public policy, legal, and electoral ripple effect that would be felt all over the country,” the group noted disapprovingly.
This is not exactly the ripple effect they had in mind.
After the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Arizona, federal Judge Susan Bolton issued an injunction barring enforcement of most of SB 1070’a provisions before they went into effect last July. Arizona has appealed that decision.
However, in mid-December, the same judge rejected the Justice Department’s challenge to part of the Arizona law that makes it a state offense to transport illegal immigrants and also dismissed several private suits against the state filed by open borders groups.
It remains to be seen whether a weakened Obama administration will spend its dwindling political capital going after half the states in an attempt to assuage Democratic supporters who are disappointed that the DREAM Act didn’t make it through the lame duck session alive.