MI Republicans campaign on Arizona-style immigration reform

Pundits say immigrant bashing may be a winning tactic in Michigan

By Eartha Jane Melzer 6/18/10 10:27 AM

Congressional candidate Jason Allen and Secretary of State candidates State Sens. Michelle McManus (R-Lake Leelanau) and Cameron Brown (R-Sturgis) are sponsors of a Senate bill that would enact Arizona-style immigration reforms in Michigan.

The Immigration Law Enforcement Act, SB1388, and its companion House bill 6256 would require all police to enforce federal immigration laws and require them to request immigration papers from anyone they suspect of being in the county illegally.  According to Emily Carney, legislative director for McManus, the law mirrors legislation recently enacted in Arizona.

That law has prompted protests, boycotts and legal challenges by groups who claim it is unfair and will promote racial profiling.  Carney said that the McManus office has received e-mails and phone calls with positive feedback about the bill.  Jeremy Hendges, spokesman for Jason Allen’s congressional campaign, described the candidate’s take on immigration policy this way:

“From the national security angle, we need to make sure we are not letting in drug dealers, human traffickers, and terrorists. People who are coming here and not working legally — they are not paying in to tax system they should not be expecting to be using all these benefits without paying in the system that you and I pay into.”

Hendges acknowledged that Michigan does not have a serious problem with illegal immigration.   “Look at the southern border,” he said. “We’ve been fortunate in Michigan that we haven’t had a lot of trouble.”  Hendges said that while people do sometimes mention immigration on the campaign trail, “the number one issue hands down is jobs and the economy.”

Critics say that the immigration legislation backed by the term-limited state senator will actually harm the state’s damaged economy by creating a social climate that is hostile to all immigrants.

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Favorite quote from the article:

Asked how Allen’s immigrant position would affect his chances in the congressional election Lessenberry said, “It may well help him, because the vast majority of the population is woefully ignorant.”