Wednesday 7 September 2011
By: Brendan Fischer, Center for Media and Democracy | News Analysis
July 29 marked the one-year anniversary of Arizona’s controversial immigration law, a year that has seen similar anti-immigrant bills emerge across the country. Thanks to the release of over 800 pieces of “model legislation” by the Center for Media and Democracy, we can now pinpoint the source of the outbreak to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a bill factory for legislation that benefits the bottom line of its corporate members. While it has been reported that more immigrants behind bars means more income for ALEC member Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), less discussed has been how immigrant detention benefits commercial bail-bond agencies, an industry represented in ALEC through the American Bail Coalition.
Immigrant Detention and For-Profit Criminal Justice
The ALEC “No Sanctuary Cities for Illegal Immigrants Act” requires that state law enforcement officers enforce complex federal immigration law, gives private citizens the right to sue police or sheriff’s departments if they do not think the law is being enforced (regardless of whether law enforcement had been prioritizing more important issues like investigating violent crimes), makes presence on state soil without federal immigration status a criminal offense, and requires that employers use the flawed e-Verify system for hiring employees. This ALEC bill legalizes racial profiling and became Arizona’s SB1070.
Countless immigrant families that have been torn apart by the law. “Children don’t know what to do without their parents,” 10-year-old Catherine Figueroa told a Congressional panel in 2010; Figeuroa’s mother and father were arrested by Arizona state law enforcement on immigration charges.
To be clear, the bill’s sponsor Arizona Republican Rep. Pearce had long supported tough state-level immigration enforcement, but failed to get a bill into law in ’05, ’06, ’07, ’08, and ’09. Pearce only found success in 2010, after his idea for an immigration bill had been approved and endorsed by ALEC corporations. Xenophobia alone had not been sufficient to codify anti-immigrant sentiment into law — it required the support of the for-profit criminal justice industry. (more…)
Filed under: Arizona, Arizona-copycat laws, Deportation, immigrant community, Law Enforcement, S.B. 20 | Tagged: ALEC, American Bail Coalition, American Legislative Exchange Council, Arizona, Corrections Corporations of America, for-profit criminal justice, legislation, Russell Pearce, SB1070 | Leave a Comment »