Democratic Ariz. State Sen. Steve Gallardo is planning to file a bill that would formally repeal contentious state immigration law SB 1070. This marks the first time since the law’s passage in April 2010 that lawmakers have formally sought to repeal it through legislative process. Gallardo said in an interview with the Associated Press that he is disheartened by the negative image garnered by the state of Arizona since the passage of 1070, and he thinks repealing it is a necessary step in repairing that image.
Unfortunately, Gallardo admits that it is unlikely that the efforts of democratic lawmakers in Arizona to pull the plug on SB 1070 are likely not to have much affect on the law. Republicans in the state government state that Gallardo’s bill is simply a political ploy and essentially a pointless waste of time and resources.
In fact, it seems much more likely that rather than SB 1070 being struck down in Arizona, that the law stands to be bolstered in 2012. As the U.S. Supreme Court is set this spring to hear Arizona’s appeal of the federal injunction against several key provisions of SB 1070, many experts are predicting that the court will in fact vote in favor of lifting these injunctions, opening up Arizona to have a great deal more leniency in enforcing state immigration law. In addition, Arizona lawmakers are already working on passing several additional immigration-related bills, including one that would require public schools to document and report unauthorized immigrant enrollees.
Still, Gallardo and other democratic lawmakers in Arizona feel bolstered in their efforts to fight back against SB 1070, as they argue that public support in favor of such harsh anti-immigrant legislation is recently waning. This may in fact be the case, as several recent polls show an increasing public support towards creating opportunities for undocumented individuals to legalize their residency status in this country. In a CBS News poll last month, 70 percent of those surveyed favored allowing undocumented individuals to stay in the country and apply for citizenship or guest worker programs over deporting them. And in a recent Fox News poll two thirds of those surveyed favored increasing the number of legal immigrants to this country.
Regardless of whether or not public support largely seems to lie on the side of increasing opportunities for the nation’s undocumented population to live and work here legally, state governments are choosing to follow a different path. Last year four states passed their own 1070-esque laws. And just last week, Missouri announced that it will be the next state to join this anti-immigrant legal fray.