Video: Arizona Got it Wrong
WASHINGTON, DC -- Arizona ignited a destructive national debate over immigration when SB 1070 was signed into law a year ago. But other states and the public are realizing that Arizona got it wrong. Eliseo Medina, International Secretary-Treasurer of the Service Employees International Union, issued the following statement on the growing push for federal comprehensive immigration solutions.
"It is a year since Arizona reached a dangerous new low in the national discourse on immigration policy by enacting SB 1070, a law that requires police to investigate, detain, and arrest people if they sense immigration violations. Arizona's attack against immigrant workers and their children was a disturbing over reaction to Congress' inability to enact badly needed comprehensive immigration reforms.
"Two courts found that the law violates the U.S. Constitution because immigration is a federal issue and states cannot preempt the federal government's jurisdiction over immigration matters. The law ruined the state's reputation and tourists headed elsewhere, landing a stinging hit on the state's economy.
"It did not take the state's business community long to realize that draconian measures like SB 1070 were like daggers in the heart of the state's economy. When the immigration opponents tried a new round of measures this year that included cutting benefits to children, business leaders told the state to back off, and they did.
"The threat of state action is not gone, but it is greatly diminished. At least 10 other states have rejected or abandoned similar measures. And in Maryland, the state Legislature passed a DREAM Act for Maryland students, ratifying the principle that immigrants are an integral part of our economic future.
"A well-functioning immigration system will grow our economy. The need to protect all workers and treat all honest employers fairly was at the forefront of an immigration discussion led by President Obama at the White House this week. The seriousness of the president's intent to push forward with immigration reform was reflected in the high caliber of meeting participants including the CEOs of AOL and Facebook, the top tiers of the Obama and George W. Bush administrations, labor and business, faith and community leaders, mayors and police chiefs.
"If all of the people who attended the President's meeting aggressively work towards Congressional approval of comprehensive immigration solutions, we have a great opportunity to make change.
"On Saturday, the anniversary of the signing of SB 1070, SEIU, Mi Familia Vota and other partners will hold a citizenship workshop for 500 Phoenix residents, as part of our ongoing effort to nurture the dreams of all immigrants who want to be part of this great country. Political attacks will not slow us down."
With 2.2 million members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas. Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers--not just corporations and CEOs--benefit from today's global economy.