Home / Capitol Insiders / Brewer sees no need for Alabama-style changes to SB1070

Brewer sees no need for Alabama-style changes to SB1070

In this May 9, 2011 file photo, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer speaks in Phoenix. The Supreme Court agreed Monday to rule on Arizona's controversial law targeting illegal immigrants. The justices said they will review a federal appeals court ruling that blocked several tough provisions in the Arizona law. One of those requires that police, while enforcing other laws, question a person's immigration status if officers suspect he is in the country illegally. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

Gov. Jan Brewer said she sees no need for Arizona to make the kinds of revisions that Alabama is considering to its SB1070-style law.

Following the embarrassing arrest of a Mercedes Benz executive and the ticketing of a Honda employee, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and legislative leaders are now proposing changes to its tough state-level immigration law, HB56.

The two foreign auto workers were charged under a provision of the law requiring immigrants and foreign visitors to carry documentation proving they are in the country legally, a mirror image of a section in SB1070.

If SB1070 goes into effect — the documentation provision was blocked by a federal judge in Arizona but allowed to go into effect in Alabama — Brewer said she doesn’t believe there’s a risk of the same thing happening in Arizona.

“I think it is important that what we have done here in Arizona with the AZ POST (Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training commission) and going further than what Alabama has done, as far as I am aware, with instruction and re-educating everybody on exactly what is important in regards to asking for identification and certainly arresting,” Brewer said.

Brewer’s confidence was echoed by AZ POST Executive Director Lyle Mann, though he wasn’t sure exactly what circumstances would lead to a different outcome if a similar traffic stop occurred in Arizona.

“I believe if they were faced with the same circumstance here in Arizona they would have applied the laws … appropriately,” Mann said. “I believe that our officers would have made the correct call, whatever that call might have been.”

The injunction against SB1070 has made it impossible to determine whether Arizona might see similar incidents at a time when it’s striving to attract foreign businesses to the state. But if the U.S. Supreme Court, which will hear the lawsuit over the injunction in April, upholds SB1070, the issue may come to the forefront.

Todd Sanders, the president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, said it’s too early to tell whether SB1070 could lead to similar incidents in Arizona. But if SB1070 goes into effect, he said, that provision could be concerning.

“I hope that our law enforcement folks are trained in such a way that that wouldn’t occur. But if it did, I think it would have a chilling effect on companies looking to relocate to Arizona,” said Sanders, who led the business community’s charge against a raft of illegal immigration bills in the Legislature last session.

Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry President and CEO Glenn Hamer said there’s no concern right now because that portion of SB1070 has been blocked. And if the rest of the law goes into effect, he said he’s not worried because the state’s implementation of other anti-illegal immigration measures, such as the Legal Arizona Workers Act, “has been very reasonable.”

“There is zero concern in terms of this type of implementation,” Hamer said.

But if such an incident did happen in Arizona, Hamer said it would put a renewed focus on that provision of SB1070, much like is happening now in Alabama.

“They have to do something. That’s pretty obvious,” Hamer said of Alabama.

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