The June issue of Governing magazine points out that two other states have already passed laws similar to the controversial anti-immigration legislation signed by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer in April. Georgia policymakers decided in 2006 that contractors doing business with state and local governments could be audited to make certain their employees were allowed to be in the country.
But no one’s been audited four years later, in part because resources weren’t set aside for the probes. A group representing Hispanic public officials argued the law had more to do with Georgia wanting to lead the nation in states attempting to act on immigration. It also elevated the status of a man who aggressively backed the measure and later became a leader of the Georgia Senate.
There are key differences between Arizona and Georgia, as Governing notes. Arizona’s law directs police to ask about the immigration status of people they come into contact with if ‘reasonable suspicion’ exists.
Still, the lesson from Georgia might well apply to Arizona. No state effort to crack down on illegal immigration will do very much unless legislators, bureaucrats and local law enforcement officers stay committed to it. In Arizona, where many police chiefs oppose the new law, it’s quite possible that officers won’t be suspecting residents are illegal immigrants very often.
Critical provisions of another tough-on-immigration law passed by Oklahoma in 2007 have been dismantled by subsequent court challenges, the magazine writes.