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Arizona's Immigration Reform Inspiring Other States
Immigration control in Florida may soon resemble the new legislation in Arizona. The Republican gubernatorial candidate and attorney general of Florida, Bill McCollum wants to see the controversial laws enacted in his state of Florida if he’s elected governor. And McCollum isn’t exempt to the controversy.

McCollum suffered backlash from the Hispanic Community after he introduced his proposal.  “Arizona is going to want this law,” McCollum said as “We’re better, stronger, we’re tougher and we’re fairer.”

The attorney general proposed law that would require immigrants to carry legal paperwork or face up to 20 days in jail. It would also subject illegal immigrants to tougher penalties.

The immigration law in Arizona has mustered up quite a stir. Foreign ministers of Turkey and Mexico have met to express their concerns over the new immigration laws in the state. Ahmet Davtoglu, Turkey’s foreign minister is concerned that the new law would lead to xenophobia.

Patricia Espinosa, Mexico’s foreign minister said that “human rights should be held above” the state’s concerns over illegals. Human rights are core to the opposition’s argument.

Utah was initially among the states that would pass similar legislation. Republican Governor Gary R. Herbert was even expected to sign such legislation. However, it seems that officials in Utah may have changed their approach to the issue.

“At one stage, all the talk was about an Arizona bill, it was just like a runaway train,” said Tony Yapias, a Latino community activist in Utah, and host of a popular Spanish-language radio show. “But I haven’t hear about that lately. Now there are other ideas, like a guest worker program, that have changed the direction of the debate.”

Herbert succumbed to the threat of boycotts in the state, claiming they could not be ignored. “It’s unfortunate, but that’s part of what is happening in the marketplace,” the governor said.

Last month, the names of 1,300 people suspected of being illegal immigrants were published. Yapias and Alex Segura, the founder of the Utah Minutemen Project, got together to protest the publication of the list, claiming that publishing the list was illegal itself. They called for the debate to be conducted to be in a “more civil manner.”

It remains to be seen whether or not the new immigration law will be taken in states all over the country. Even in Arizona, specifics on Arizona’s bill have yet to be approved.

Governor Herbert is now working with leaders to create a guest worker program, which has been backed by the state’s Chamber of Commerce, Utah’s Attorney General, and Republican senator Howard Stephenson.

“Everyone who has an interest in this issue needs to be at the table to express their points of view,” said Governor Hubert in an interview. “If we do that, then I think the process will lead us to a conclusion, and hopefully a consensus conclusion – that almost everyone can feel good about.”


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