SB1070 as Bogeyman

By Mark Krikorian on April 28, 2011

After the passage of Arizona's SB1070 and Republican gains in many state legislatures, there was a lot of talk of similar immigration measures sweeping other states. There has been some real progress, most notably in Georgia, but not as much as you would have thought from the hype. Some of that is because it was hype, and most bills in any legislature never get anywhere.

But Tamar Jacoby, head of the open-borders business lobby ImmigrationWorks USA, revealed at a conference yesterday the strategy that succeeded in a number of states. As related to me by CIS colleague Jerry Kammer, who was at the event (David North also wrote about the conference here):

Here's a quote from Jacoby's comments yesterday that I mentioned to you. Her main point was that business is becoming increasingly mobilized, though many still prefer not to be out front and have their names in the paper. She said business has done a good job of pointing out the damage SB1070 has done to Arizona's economy and leveraging that concern to defeat E-Verify. She said the principal business strategy against E-Verify has been "to get the public so concerned about 1070 that the states retreated totally. It hasn't worked everywhere, but that has been the main way that things have worked this year."

In other words, her comrades lobbying the state legislators used SB1070, and the reaction to it, as a bogeyman to kill E-Verify mandates. They appear to have understood that the police-related provisions of SB1070 (allowing cops to inquire into the legal status of people they reasonably suspect to be illegal whom they encounter as part of a lawful stop) aren't really that important and frankly wouldn't do all that much to reduce illegal immigration — but they do get the lefties (and the lefty media) all worked up. Requiring the use of E-Verify, on the other hand, actually could limit their access to cheap, servile labor, but doesn't really get anyone all that excited in opposition. So, they tried to use SB1070 as a way to scare legislators away from any immigration measures, even things that would not have elicited the crazed leftist backlash we saw last year in Arizona. (In fact, Arizona passed an E-Verify mandate in 2007 without a lot of fuss and it has actually caused a measurable drop in the illegal population.)

I obviously don't care for the results of Tamar's strategy, but I admire the sheer cynicism of it — manipulate the fears of leftists to ensure that corporations don't have to raise wages or improve working conditions for low-skilled workers.