New York Times Editorial
Arizona, the nation’s leader in over-the-top immigration laws, has pulled back. Its Republican-controlled Senate rejected five anti-immigration bills in one day last week. It was a startling rebuke to the Senate president, the architect of the state’s go-it-alone approach to enforcement. Other states weighing similar crackdowns should take note.
The reversal has to do with money, of course. The bills were dead once the state’s business lobby weighed in against them. Sixty chief executives signed a letter to the Legislature saying the harsh immigration measures were having “unintended consequences” — boycotts, lost jobs, canceled contracts, publicity so bad that businesses with Arizona in their names were suffering — even one based in Brooklyn. The chief executive of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Glenn Hamer, said the reaction to Arizona’s extremism had already cost the state $15 million to $150 million in lost tourism revenue.
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While it is a relief to see Arizona realizing that bigotry is bad for business, it is not the end of harsh, shortsighted laws. Other legislatures were already striving to follow Arizona’s model. There is still a federal vacuum on immigration reform that allows state mischief to thrive. And it’s important to note that none of the objections by Arizona’s businesses had anything to do with the strong moral arguments against xenophobic anti-immigration bills.