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The news out of Arizona is that its Republican-dominated state Senate rejected the latest series of harsh immigration measures. For once, the Arizona GOP said no to their anti-immigrant leader, State Sen. Russell Pearce, who wanted to enact a package that has been called SB 1070 on steroids by us and by others in the beltway.
This comes as a welcome surprise. If you’re wondering how a State which, in recent times, has come to be notoriously known as the one that enacted that crazy immigration measure could do something so sane, consider this: Some Republicans are beginning to understand and fear the consequences of harsh enforcement-only policy approaches as CEOs, tourism officials, and economists begin to raise their voices in opposition. Republicans are split between pro-business pragmatists and mass-deportation zealots on the issue. This time, the zealots lost.
The rejection of the latest enforcement-only approaches reflects the growing wariness of business community, who cited that as a result of continued state-based crackdowns, they were facing “unintended consequences.” In Arizona’s debate:
…dozens of CEOs of major employers and business groups signed a letter distributed Wednesday by the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, saying that passage of additional legislation on illegal immigration would damage the economy and tourism. Arizona should instead push for federal action on immigration and border issues, according to the letter signed by heads of construction companies, hospitals, real estate developers and US Airways.