One of the toughest proposed illegal-immigration measures in the country passed its final hurdle in the Arizona Legislature on Monday, moving on to face national media scrutiny, a growing firestorm of opposition and cautious consideration by the Governor’s Office, reports the Arizona Republic. Senate Bill 1070 would, among other things, make it a state crime to be in the country illegally and require local police to enforce federal immigration laws. The state Senate approved the bill by a 17-11 vote. Gov. Jan Brewer has five days to consider whether she will sign the bill.
Advocacy groups and others have only increased their volume. The measure has captured the attention of national media for weeks. Petition signatures are being collected, prayer vigils are being planned and Brewer’s office is being bombarded with phone calls and e-mails. Law-enforcement groups are divided on the issue. But lawmakers and illegal-immigration foes are backing the measure, calling the bill the latest sign the federal government has failed to deal with the issue. Brewer said she will review the legislation and will seek the advice of both her staff and outside experts in reviewing the constitutionality and other aspects of the bill, given that illegal immigration is usually the purview of the federal government. Brewer said she had concerns about the bill but wouldn’t elaborate.