Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Anti-immigrant bills stir hatred, damage AZ’s economic prospects

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Catherine Miranda released the following statement on this year’s slate of anti-immigrant bills:
Sen. Miranda

“Yesterday two anti-immigrant bills were killed in the Senate, SB 1017 and SB 1378, but one passed. The one that survived, SB 1377, was arguably the worst. Not only does it tie the hands of our courts, forcing them to give mandatory increased sentences to any undocumented immigrant convicted of a crime, but it saddles every Arizona taxpayer with the additional cost of the longer sentence and requires the entire sentence be served in Arizona facilities. Currently, these criminals are transferred to federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement  facilities after serving fifty percent of their sentence. The only beneficiary of this irrational legislation is the private prison industry.

“There are still more working their way through the House of Representatives: HB 2024, HB 2223, HB 2682, HB 2691, to name a few.

“The fact that the Legislature even gave these bills a hearing, let alone let them get this far in the process, risks re-opening the wound to Arizona’s national and international image that was caused by SB1070.

“These bills also jeopardize the enormous strides that have been made to rebuild our relations with Mexico - our largest trading partner whose impact on our economy is critical to our continued recovery. Governor Ducey and many of Arizona’s legislators and mayors understand the importance of this relationship and have taken an active role in making improved relations with Mexico a priority.

“Believe me, Mexico is watching these bills. In a column published Sunday, Victor Martinez Remigio Cantu, professor of public policy at Hermosillo’s Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico, explained that these bills give Arizona the chance to choose between sending a negative message to the Latino community and the world, or acknowledging that immigration is a “complex problem that requires intelligent solutions.”

“I commend the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for working with me to successfully fight SB1017 but our work is certainly not done. This effort cannot and should not involve that chamber alone.

“This is why I call on the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, the Tucson Chamber of Commerce, the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and every chamber of commerce in our great state to speak out against these damaging bills that do nothing but stir up an atmosphere of hatred, and stand up for the integrity of Arizona’s welcoming image and our economic security.”

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