One week ago five major immigration bills were rejected in the State Senate and Sen. John McComish, R-Ahwatukee Foothills, says it's because the bills wouldn't do what they are expected to do.
Senate Bill 1308 and 1309 deal with birthright citizenship and were introduced in hopes to take the issue to the Supreme Court. Senate Bill 1405 would require hospital administrators to call local authorities if they suspect someone they are treating is here illegally, and Senate Bill 1407 would require the same of school administrators. Senate Bill 1611 would require proof of citizenship to obtain public housing, vehicle title or registration, and admittance to a community college or university.
McComish, who was part of a small group of Republicans who joined Democrats in opposing the five immigration bills, believes none of these bills would help stop illegal immigration.
"Proponents may say that people come to the United States to take advantage of the public schools and the hospitals," he said. "That's not true. I don't believe they're thinking, ‘Someday I'm going to have a child and that child will be a citizen and will be able to go to U.S. schools and if they get sick they can go to the hospital.' No. They're thinking they're practically starving in Mexico and the U.S. is the land of plenty. These bills would have no effect on immigration."
Since the vote on March 17, McComish has been outspoken about his opposition to the bills. He says he has received some "nasty grams," but overall the response has been positive.
"I've gotten some emotional emails and phone calls saying I'm open borders or a Democratic sympathizer," he said. "But I've gotten much more positive feedback and thank yous, which is rare. I'd say it's been about 10 to 1."
Even with the emotional calls and emails, the senator is standing by his decision.
"I'm not in favor of schools and hospitals becoming defacto immigration agents," McComish said. "The 14th Amendment, if it needs to be changed, should be decided by the federal government."
He noted that there was a group of Republicans who voted no on at least one of the bills, but that all of them voted yes on SB 1070. McComish says the difference is that SB 1070 will affect immigration and these bills will not.
Because the bills were each defeated by at least six votes, McComish does not believe the bills will be brought up again this year, but there is always a chance the issue could be brought to the voters to decide.
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