A pro-immigration reform group of Arizona business leaders traveled to Utah to urge lawmakers to refrain from passing their own version of the controversial Arizona crackdown on illegal immigration.
Todd Landfried of Arizona Employers for Immigration Reform tells The Lookout he was invited by Utah politicians and business leaders to talk about the economic impact of SB1070 in Arizona. He told them that for every 50,000 immigrant families that leave, a billion dollars in revenue goes with them. (A report estimated 100,000 Latinos left Arizona last year, some of them legal and illegal immigrants.)
He also said the 2010 immigration law wound up costing the state $410 million in lost tourism revenue, according to Paul Koepp at the local news station KSL.
Landfried says he's been invited by several other Western states to speak about the law's effects, as well.
In September, Utah's Lt. Gov. Greg Bell traveled to Arizona on a "fact-finding" trip to gauge the fallout from the state's illegal immigration crackdown. Bell told KSL at the time that the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce painted a bleak picture of the bill's economic impact. The group was neutral on the bill, but launched a website to combat boycotts over the law. Landfried says the Chamber has since taken a more active role in opposing a proposed bill in Arizona to reverse birthright citizenship.
In Utah, a group of bipartisan lawmakers and business leaders, along with the Mormon church, signed a "compact" saying they think immigration law should be left to the federal government. The main legislative champion of an Arizona-style crackdown in Utah, GOP state Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, has revised his legislation's original wording after groups estimated it would cost the state more than $5 million to enforce. The new version of his bill, according to the Salt Lake Tribune, will no longer mandate police officers to check the immigration status of suspects; it makes such identification checks optional for Utah cops.
We've reached out to the Phoenix Chamber President Todd Sanders to find out if he plans on talking to any other lawmakers from the dozen or so states that are considering an Arizona copycat law this session. We'll update this post if he gets back to us.
(An anti-immigration reform protester in Utah in 2006: AP)