Smith has indicated he wants to enact mandatory electronic verification of the citizenship of all new employees — a step that might lead to mass firing of undocumented workers. Some pro-immigrant reformers say they could support “mandatory e-verify” if it were accompanied by steps to enable presently undocumented workers to gain legal status.
But Republicans — and increasingly, even moderates — are opposed to anything smacking of “amnesty,” either because they fear the wrath of nativists or because of the prospect that former illegal immigrants will vote Democratic.
Interestingly, one of the harshest of all anti-immigrant Republicans, Rep. Steve King (Iowa), was expected to chair the immigration subcommittee, but he was displaced by Gallegly. King blamed Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who King said is “not very aggressive on immigration.”
If that’s so, there will still be intense pressure for restrictive action, including a Congressional ban on birthright citizenship from FAIR and allied groups.
In the nation’s capital and around the country, however, political leaders should be worried that conditions in Arizona will spread nationwide.
A brief recent history of events in the state prepared by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network includes neo-Nazi harassment of worker sites, lawsuits charging racial profiling, gun violence and verbal war between Arpaio and Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon over raids through Latino neighborhoods.
In October 2008, Arpaio sent a 60-member SWAT team on a 2 a.m. raid of the Mesa, Ariz., city hall and public library, hunting illegal immigrant janitorial employees.
In May 2010, Gordon announced he had received 5,000 threats — some of violence and death — for opposing S.B. 1070.
When federal Judge Susan Bolton halted enforcement of major parts of the law, she received hate mail and death threats.
And so did Judge John Roll, when he ruled in 2009 that illegal immigrants could sue a local rancher on charges of harassment. Roll died in the Tucson shooting rampage at the hands of deranged gunman Jared Loughner.
Loughner had nothing to do with the immigration issue, but there has been plenty of other ugliness in Arizona over it. Does America really want that to metastasize nationwide?