Senate Majority Leader Stephen Sweeney said his decision comes after a federal judge upheld an Arizona law that prohibits businesses from knowingly hiring illegal immigrants and yanks the business licenses of those that do.Even before the Arizona law went into effect, hundreds of illegal immigrants were heading to other states and back to their countries of origin by the day. In Oklahoma, which passed similar measures that will come online in July, estimates put the immigrant exodus in the hundreds daily as well.
"Companies that knowingly hire illegals are destroying job opportunities for the working men and women of New Jersey," said Sweeney, D-Gloucester. "The practice has to be stopped." ...
On Feb. 8, a federal judge in Arizona dismissed a lawsuit filed by business groups against Arizona's law, which was approved last year by the Republican-led Legislature and Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano.
The mass deportation argument is a strawman--states do not even have to power of deportation. As was the case during Operation Wetback, most illegal immigrants will leave of their own volition when it becomes more difficult to live here illegally.
State legislatures are more beholden to their constituencies than congresspeople at the national level are. Although immigration enforcement is one of the few issues the Constitution expressly charges the Federal government with handling, its dereliction has led other states like Arizona to take matters into their own hands. It's not just happening in the Southwest, either. Rhode Island is moving in the same direction as New Jersey:
Rhode Island, facing a budget crisis that will lead to massive cutbacks, is engulfed in the most intense battle over illegal immigration in New England, with Republicans and Democrats alike calling for a crackdown on unauthorized workers.Congressional Democrats are less restrictionist than their Republican counterparts are, but among the public it is more an issue of several members of the Establishment (big business for low-wage throw-away labor, big religion for more adherents, big government to justify bigger government to take care of an expanding underclass and for more people to vote for bigger government, big media for more sob stories and racial/ethnic/class conflict, big racial interests like La Raza for obvious reasons, etc) against the bipartisan majority of the citizenry.
In the past few weeks, state lawmakers and the governor have proposed a battery of measures targeting unauthorized workers, from expelling undocumented children from the state's healthcare system to making English the official language to jailing business owners and landlords who harbor illegal workers.
This is an encouraging trend. The measures are having the desired effect even before becoming law and in the face of legal challenge. As the immigrants who do not leave the US instead head to other states, pressure in those states for similar laws will increase, as residents of the receiving states suffer rising economic inequality and poverty, overburdened public infrastructure, and poorer academic performance in their communities.