Seth Freed Wessler, our superstar field reporter, has been tirelessly covering the anti-immigrant movement at both the policy and the personal levels for quite some time. That means, of course, that he’s too often the bearer of bad news.
So imagine how excited we all were, Seth perhaps most of all, when he filed his story about SB 1070 copycat bills going belly-up in state legislatures across the country! It’s not all good news, of course–but there are real victories to celebrate, and they’re happening because of on-the-ground organizers finding ways to work with legislators, businesses, and their communities.
Reader 5ivelakes raises a good point on the power of terminology:
The article brings up an important issue, but I’m really surprised it doesn’t mention ALEC’s role in crafting this legislation. To call them "copycat" bills really downplays how much this is an extremely coordinated effort driven by ALEC, who has a significant amount of US politicians in their pocket, is behind the current legislative attack on unions, and is leading the attack on University of Wisconsin professor William Cronon.
Thanks for this 5ivelakes. Great point. The SB1070’s surely did not emerge out of an nowhere. As you note, they’re a result of a coordinated and synergistic strategy that includes ALEC and conservative anti-immigration groups in like FAIR and CIS.
In fact, Seth reported their efforts to spread this legislation last year, just after the Arizona bill passed. So for more details check out Seth’s report from the Colorlines.com archives.
On Facebook, Trudy C. wishes that the basic human decency frame was as effective as the economic one:
?"… [Legislators] are starting to see that the economic costs of passing the bills is too great." Hard on tourism, etc., etc. Isn’t it sad that the only thing getting these bigots to back down is "the cost is too great?"
And organizing group Virginia New Majority critiques the piece in the best way possible:
[…] The article and map here don’t include the amazing victory we had in Virginia. Anti-immigrant elected officials in Virginia tried to pass a whole range of anti-immigrant bills that would have introduced 1070-like conditions through piece-meal legislation. All in all, over 20 laws were considered in this legislative session, and all but one were defeated. The people of Virginia spoke up, and won a huge victory in Richmond!
Know of some victories that should be making headlines? Who’s winning in your state, or in your neighborhood? We want to hear about it!