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A bill aimed at overturning Arizona’s immigration reform law, Senate Bill 1070, was proposed Jan. 23 by Sen. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix.

Senate Bill 1218 would fully repeal SB 1070, a law signed in May 2010 by Gov. Jan Brewer. The law has brought national boycotts and economic problems to the state, said Gallardo.

Gallardo's bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee, whose chairman, Sen. Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu, has announced that he won’t be taking up the bill. Gallardo plans to reintroduce it.

"This bill has done nothing in terms of trying to curb our immigration problem, and it has done nothing to slow down the number of folks coming across the border,” he said.

Soon after its passage, federal courts blocked several portions of SB 1070 from going into effect, including the section that requires police officers to verify the immigration status of anyone they come in lawful contact with and suspect of being in the country illegally.

SB 1070 has sparked considerable controversy among Arizona citizens and legislators, said Gallardo.

"I believe SB 1070 brings out the worst in a lot of folks, including the very right wing side of our state," he said. "The vast majority of people in Arizona support some type of immigration reform."

The federal government, not state governments, should be supporting immigration reform, said Gallardo.

"We cannot just fix an immigration problem on the floor of the Senate, we need the federal government to step up and do their job," he said.

Immigration reform is not just about tightening border security, said Gallardo.

"We need to sit down and figure out how we're going to deal with the four million undocumented that are in our country now," Gallardo said.

Arizona Republican Party spokesman Shane Wikfors said he believes Arizona's current immigration reform has been effective.

"It has helped Arizona lead the way on immigration policy," Wikfors said. "In fact, the Supreme Court has taken up the issue and we've gotten other states that are following Arizona's lead on this type of immigration policy."

The support SB 1070 has gathered among Arizona Republican legislators makes passing Gallardo’s repeal unlikely, said Wilkfors.

When Gould refused to hear the bill in committee, he said it was because he supports SB 1070.

“The legislature won't even touch that and my impression is it's dead on arrival,” Wikfors said. “The majority in the legislature are Republicans who supported SB 1070.”

Wikfors said it would be more likely for the repeal to go through if the federal government supported strong immigration reform.

“If the federal government did do its job in terms of immigration policy and border security, there would be much more likelihood of states getting completely out of the business of trying to push the legislation themselves,” Wikfors said.

Gallardo said his repeal is not intended to create lax immigration reform, but to find more effective immigration reform and border security.

“At the end of the day, regardless on the approach, I think it's important to us to talk about SB 1070,” Gallardo said. “It has put a black cloud over the state of Arizona that will take years for us to get out from underneath.”

 

Reach the reporter at dgrobmei@asu.edu.

 

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