Less than two years ago, Arizona’s reputation was scarred by the signing of SB1070. Businesses, particularly those in the tourism industry, lost millions of dollars while the world listened to the harsh rhetoric of former State Senator Russell Pearce and learned of the discriminatory practices of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Many residents wondered aloud whether Arizona could shake its unwelcoming image and emerge as a place that valued diversity and humanity. Today, a group of Arizonans provided its lawmakers a foundation to do just that – a set of five principles meant to guide policymakers in a civil dialogue on immigration matters.
The Arizona Accord, as it’s called, is not a new concept. It is a carbon copy of the Utah Compact, a document designed by a group of Utah business leaders and law enforcement officials to address the growing concerns over immigration in that state.
The Utah Compact was successful in thwarting Utah legislators from implementing Arizona-style immigration laws and was instrumental in Utah’s approach to new state immigration policies.
And now business, faith and community leaders from across Arizona are hoping to duplicate Utah’s successes with the signing of the Arizona Accord. These groups and individuals realize that a lack of public discourse on immigration has made finding a solution nearly impossible, and they are hopeful this document will offer respectful and meaningful ways to move the dialogue forward.
The Accord is a simple document consisting of five principles, balancing the rule of law with the morality of humanity.
THE ARIZONA ACCORD
FEDERAL SOLUTIONS Immigration is a federal policy issue between the U.S. government & other countries, not Arizona and other countries. We urge Arizona’s congressional delegation, and others, to lead efforts to strengthen federal laws and protect our national borders. We urge state leaders to adopt reasonable policies addressing immigrants in Arizona.
LAW ENFORCEMENT We respect the rule of law & support law enforcement’s professional judgment and discretion. Local law enforcement resources should focus on criminal activities, not civil violations of federal code.
FAMILIES Strong families are the foundation of successful communities. We oppose policies that would unnecessarily separate families. We champion policies that support families and improve the health, education and well-being of all Arizona children.
ECONOMY Arizona is best served by a free-market philosophy that maximizes individual freedom and opportunity. We acknowledge the economic role immigrants play as workers and taxpayers. Arizona’s immigration policies must reaffirm our global reputation as a welcoming and business-friendly state.
A FREE SOCIETY Immigrants are integrated into communities across Arizona. We must adopt a humane approach to this reality, reflecting our unique culture, history & spirit of inclusion. The way we treat immigrants will say more about us as a free society and less about our immigrant neighbors. Arizona should always be a place that welcomes people of goodwill.
I encourage all my readers to visit the website www.azaccord.com and sign on as a supporter. Forward the link over email, Facebook and Twitter and help us gain momentum for a civil approach to immigration legislation.
Let’s show the world a different view of Arizona, one we can all be proud of.