An influx of illegal immigration in recent years is straining social services and costing the taxpayers billions of dollars a year. States are stepping up to the plate to enforce immigration law in the absence of federal enforcement.
Border states, which have been hit the hardest by illegal immigration, are leading the way in new legislation and are also getting the most attention from pro-illegal immigration groups. However, non-border states have been enforcing existing immigration law for years with no repercussions from anyone.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed SB-1070 into law in an attempt to reduce illegal immigration in that State. The controversial law mirrors Federal immigration law. However, since the signing of the bill many lawsuits have been filed by the Justice Department, pro-illegal immigration groups and other parties in an attempt rule the law unconstitutional. The court initially ruled to block portions of the law concerning the requirement that immigrants must carry their identification on their persons. Arizona appealed the decision and at this time, a decision is yet to come from the court.
Texas Immigration Legislation
Texas State Representative Debbie Riddle isfiling a bill intended to enforce immigration laws. The bill HB-17 mirrors Arizona’s SB-1070. It will also require photo ID and will prohibit sanctuary cities. With the conservative wins in the Texas house in the recent elections, the legislation has a good chance of passing. The bill has to get past Governor Rick Perry, who has announced his opposition to an Arizona type law in Texas. Legal challenges similar to the ones Arizona faced are also a good probability.
Anti-Illegal Immigration Groups
Illegal immigration is a crime. The feeling that certain individuals are above the law and are not prosecuted is causing a groundswell of support for State immigration enforcement. Many groups have appeared throughout the country voicing their frustration over illegal immigration. In Arizona the Facebook page, Stand with Arizona against Illegal Immigration has a membership of over 400,000 members.
In Texas, the Facebook page, Texans for Arizona’s New Immigration Law has 12,000 members calling for an Arizona-type law in Texas. There are many other smaller groups throughout the country in support of enforcement.
Many well funded Hispanic groups oppose immigration enforcement. Groups such as LULAC and LaRaza oppose enforcement of the new laws on the grounds of racial profiling. These groups claim racism against anyone backing stronger enforcement of immigration law. Although well funded, these groups claim to represent the Hispanic population. However, there are many groups of all races that feel the rule of law should prevail.