root in some states and failed in others and the prospects of both pro- and anti-immigrant state proposals in 2012.
Rubio shared her firsthand account of the damage that she’s seen in Alabama as a result of the state’s incredibly harsh anti-immigrant law.
“HB 56 brought Alabama back to the dark past it has worked so hard to overcome,” said Rubio. “Alabama is now gripped by a humanitarian crisis as a consequence of this law: families are fleeing the state, kids are afraid to go to school, and people are being denied basic services such as access to water.”
But, participants were quick to point out that the negative impact that these laws have had on states such as Alabama, Georgia, and Arizona may have deterred other states from taking similar action.
In fact, some lawmakers, like Sen. Johnston, are actually pushing back and introducing pro-immigrant bills. “Colorado’s future depends on forward-thinking approaches to immigration—ones that focus on nurturing talented youth and putting our tax dollars to better use than destroying immigrant families,” said Sen. Johnston. “As a former public school teacher, I have seen firsthand all that our state has to gain from the economic contributions and energy of immigrants. I remain committed to laws and policies that welcome and channel this energy into a better future for Colorado this year and beyond.”
Still, Lacayo warned that more anti-immigrant legislation could be on the horizon in 2012. “Until Congress acts on immigration, we will no doubt see legislators continue to push racial profiling bills at the state level,” said Lacayo. “While we’re grateful that states are rejecting these bills, we still need our lawmakers on Capitol Hill to stop using this issue for political sport and actually provide this country with legitimate solutions to fix our broken immigration system at the federal level.”
Raghunathan added that state legislators are critical to shifting the debate to generate solutions in 2012.
“State legislators understand the on-the-ground reality of immigration, which has largely expanded economic output and opportunity while revitalizing communities,” noted Raghunathan. “These lawmakers are at the forefront of commonsense approaches that recognize the contributions of immigrant workers and families and chart a way forward to expand opportunity for all.”
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