The Arizona Republic, Phoenix Business Journal and Tucson Weekly report this week on a debate in the state of Arizona on immigration and border security legislation and funding plans. Democrats in the state, led by Gov. Janet Napolitano, are pushing for stronger workforce enforcement and new penalties for companies who knowingly hire undocumented migrants. The business community is vehemently resisting this plan, arguing in part that this is a federal responsibility. And others from across the political spectrum are wary.
Napolitano has also put forward a funding plan for immigration and border security that includes sending the Arizona National Guard to the border and spending $100 million of the state’s own money on border security.
All of this activity is very interesting from a national perspective, for two key reasons:
- It previews the debate that we’re likely to see this year at the national level, and highlights the odd and unpredictable alliances that have formed on these issues;
- It shows the extent to which states don’t think that the federal government will be able to quickly address these issues, and in the meantime, are stepping into the breach.
For both of theses reasons, it will be important to closely watch developments in state governments on the southern border as the border bill moves through Congress this year.