Other states taking cue from Arizona law

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The Arizona law is set to take effect in midsummer and authorizes state and local law enforcement officers to determine during lawful stops the immigration status of people for whom there is “reasonable suspicion” that they are in the country illegally. Known as Senate Bill 1070, it was enacted in response to a dramatic rise in violence along the Arizona-Mexico border.

Reasonable suspicion is a legal standard requiring that before someone is arrested or detained there must be reasonable belief that the person has been, is or is about to be engaged in criminal activity.

A recent Rasmussen Reports poll found that 70 percent of likely Arizona voters approve of the legislation, while 23 percent oppose it.

Ann Morse, who monitors immigration legislation for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said most attempts to pass legislation modeled on the Arizona statute probably will have to wait till next year. She said it is too late for most state legislatures to consider such a measure, since most are already out of session or winding down.

She said many states will be watching what happens in Arizona regarding pending and threatened lawsuits and a ballot initiative. She said she was not ruling out a similar stand from other states “to push the federal government to take responsibility.”

Utah House Speaker David Clark said he expects an Arizona-type bill to be introduced next year when that state’s legislature returns to session. Mr. Clark, a Republican, said Utah residents are “concerned” and “frustrated” about immigration and that Congress needs to act.

“In Utah, we don’t have the right to deport anyone,” he said. “I think that Arizona gave a size 13 boot to the federal government to try to spur it into action.”

In Georgia, Republican gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal said he would support as governor legislation that mirrors Arizona’s new immigration policies.

“I agree with the Arizona governor and Legislature that the federal government has failed miserably at protecting our borders and enacting sensible solutions that would protect our states, counties and cities from bearing the enormous costs associated with illegal immigration, from emergency-room visits to public schools to the criminal justice system,” Mr. Deal said.

Mr. Deal was active in the fight against illegal immigration while a member of Congress. He was elected in 1992 to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat, switched to the Republican Party in 1995, and resigned in March to run for governor.

Brian Robinson, Mr. Deal’s campaign press secretary, said the veteran lawmaker, if elected, would “seriously push” for an Arizona-type law if the federal government continues the “status quo” of failing to secure the border.

“We don’t see we have a lot of choice, Mr. Robinson said. “This action has to be taken.”

Scott McInnis, a candidate for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in Colorado, also pledged to sign a bill like the Arizona legislation, “given the failure of the federal government to deal with illegal immigration,” said spokesman Sean Duffy.

During a recent KHOW radio interview in Denver, Mr. McInnis said, “We are stopping the retreat. No more retreat. Federal government, if you are not going to do it, we are going to do it.”

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