Arizona businesses show courage, tell Supreme Court to strike down SB1070

SB1070 was sold as a way to “do the job the federal government refused to do.” Presumably, that meant “secure the border,” a catchall phrase by Republicans that has yet to be defined as anything other than “the opposite of what Obama does.”

But SB1070 doesn’t secure the border, nor does it offer any real solution to the problem of illegal immigration.

Instead, 1070 has driven out thousands of residents, both documented and undocumented, who feel unwelcome in a state that seems more and more hostile to Latinos. SB1070, along with a slue of additional far-reaching anti-women’s health bills, has tarnished Arizona’s image and given us headlines perfect for the taunts of late-night comedians like John Stewart.

I’m not sure how Arizona’s legislators can view this as positive, but then again, there’s little our state lawmakers do these days that I understand. From banning contraception to defunding education, legislators seem more interested in taking away individual liberties than in creating jobs or fixing a broken tax system.

This isn’t good news for Arizona businesses. But with the exception of last year’s letter asking legislators to cool it on the immigration bills, most businesses have said little about the negative impact of SB1070 or of the other controversial and image-damaging bills coming out of the legislature. But this week several hundred businesses spoke up, saying SB1070 is bad for Arizona’s businesses and bad for Arizona’s economy.

The amicus curiae or “Friend of the Court” brief put together by Arizona Employers for Immigration Reform and several other groups argues that 1070 violates the Dormant Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution and interferes with interstate and foreign commerce. Essentially, they’re saying the law has driven away immigrants and other residents, diminishing the labor pool and creating higher costs for the price of goods and services. It has also imposed higher costs on out of state businesses with operations in Arizona.

But the brief goes further by stating that the supposed benefits to Arizona are “illusory and do not outweigh its burdens.” SB1070 was sold as a way to reduce the costs of illegal immigration by reducing the costs for incarceration and education, but data has shown that the end result has not been a net gain for Arizona but rather a net loss.

All Arizonans pay the price for bad legislative policies, whether it’s immediate or long-term. The focus on immigration policies, specifically bad immigration policies such as SB1070, continue to draw resources away from programs that fix problems and into programs that create additional problems.

For instance, an editorialist from the East Valley Tribune recently wrote about the sweeping of funds from DPS, funds taken from gang enforcement and moved into immigration enforcement. This has resulted in an increase in violent, gang-related organized crime that will no doubt continue to rise as the legislature moves another $2 million out of anti-gang funds and into funds for an armed state militia.

Will a volunteer state militia do more to keep citizens safe than a highly trained specialty squad? I sincerely doubt it.

Most of our business leaders can see right through these types of policies, but until more of them have the courage to stand up and speak out, bad policies will continue to be the norm. Here’s hoping the actions of a few will give courage to the masses.


  1. Mike Slater

    Of course Arizona businesses want the Supreme Court to strike down SB1070, they don’t want to lose the cheap labor.

  2. me you and a dog named Boo

    So a total of 350 businesses (the # mentioned in the brief) which totals a whopping 6% of all of the businesses (522,926) in AZ are speaking for all businesses in AZ? The AZHCC only represents a total of 116 businesses (most of which aren’t Hispanic owned), which brings the total to 466. Even if one includes the number of ALL Hispanic owned businesses @ approx. 52,000, that still doesn’t reach 15% of all businesses in AZ. How can that possibly be a true representation of the businesses’ position on SB1070, especially since there are plenty of naturalized immigrants who are business owners that DO support SB1070?

    Beyond all of that, this little nugget (from the brief) I truly hope the Supreme Court reads is the most asinine rationalization for the rejection of SB1070 I have ever read (other than “all supporters of SB1070 MUST be racist”):

    “Hill & Usher, L.L.C., is an Arizona insurance company that insures businesses and individuals, including many construction companies. Hill & Usher joins this brief because it is worried about the burden S.B. 1070 imposes on the commercial insurance industry. For instance, proponents of S.B. 1070 argue that businesses should employ convicts to mitigate labor shortages caused by the law. Needless to say, forcing businesses to hire convicts, many of them violent felons, will greatly affect commercial insurance in Arizona.”

    So, in other words, this particular company would rather have the companies it insures hire illegals than american citizens (or those on work visas) who may or may not be convicted felons. Therefore when an illegal gets hurt on the job, they just drop him/her off at an emergency room and let medicare take care of the bill (re: taxpayers), not the insurance company, because the insurance company doesn’t have to cover them financially. Yeah those meanie Republicans are just trying to discriminate against the poor downtrodden Latin people, who only want to come here for a better life, by helping convicts (of which a vast majority are of minority decent) get jobs. Yep, that’s AWESOME reasoning to drop SB1070 and what a way to help convicts break out the cyclical pattern of imprisonment.

    1. Post
      Julie Erfle

      The lettuce farmers in Yuma use large blades in the fields. Are you comfortable letting those who are currently serving time in prison, as has been suggested by some in AZ, handle deadly weapons? By the way, they tried letting ex-cons work the fields in Georgia, and it was a disaster. The ex-cons did a fraction of the work and most left after a day or two.

      You talk about work visas, but do you understand how difficult, and in most cases, impossible it is for people to get work visas? The visa system is incredibly difficult to navigate, for both worker and employer, and our government has done little to fix it.

      What does SB1070 solve? Does it help get farmers the workers they need? No. Does it do anything to fix the problems with the drug cartels? No. Does it address those families with mixed status? No. Does it help our economy? No.

      If you would like to read about the facts behind immigration, I encourage you to check out’s website. There are ways to fix the immigration problem, but only if we start with the facts.

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