Stateline Story

A Year Later, Arizona Leaders Stand Behind Immigration Law

Russell Pearce, the Arizona Senate president who drafted the toughest state immigration law in the nation a year ago this week, believes the measure is having exactly the effect he intended.

Illegal immigrants are leaving Arizona " in caravans, " Pearce tells Capitol Media Services . " I've talked to a U-Haul dealer. He said business has never been better. "

The law, SB 1070, was signed into law by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer last April 23. It gives local police broad authority to ask potential suspects about their immigration status - a responsibility that traditionally has been reserved for the federal government.

Brewer's signing of the bill immediately put immigration back on the national agenda. Opponents of the law orchestrated an economic boycott of Arizona and the federal Justice Department challenged the measure in court, potentially leading to a U.S. Supreme Court showdown. At the moment, enforcement of part of the law is on hold due to lower court decisions.

Despite the controversy and legal battles, Brewer also believes the measure has been a success, especially in drawing attention to a problem that has long been ignored by the federal government.

As Capitol Media Services notes, " It was not until Brewer signed the bill that President Obama found time in his schedule to meet with the governor in Washington. And it was not until that meeting that Obama made a firm commitment to put additional National Guard troops along the border with Mexico. "

Tags: Immigration