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Alternative immigration ‘compacts’ crop up nationwide, and in Sarasota

Published on Mon, Feb 28, 2011

Last week, as several immigration-enforcement bills made their way through state legislatures, alternative bills and state compacts were proposed to deal with problems related to immigration.

The Immigration Policy Center indicates that business leaders, elected officials, community activists and faith groups in Utah and Indiana have signed “state compacts” — declarations of principles to guide the state’s immigration discussion, adding that, “The Indiana Association of Cities and Towns—which includes 120 Indiana mayors—added their names to the list of city, business, religious and education leaders who think Indiana’s copycat enforcement bill, SB 590, is a bad idea.”

The Policy Center also reports that a Senate committee in Utah on Friday narrowly passed S.B. 60, a progressive immigration bill, as an alternative to a state representative’s Arizona-style bill.

According to the Policy Center, legislators in Arkansas, New Mexico, Nebraska and Texas are also proposing alternatives to immigration enforcement bills.

In Florida, Sarasota City Commissioners earlier this month approved a compact as a symbolic measure that takes a stand against the state’s Senate Bill 136, filed by state Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, that declares the intent of immigration legislation to make “attrition through enforcement the public policy of all state and local government agencies in Florida.”

According to Sarasota Patch, Sarasota Mayor Kelly Kirschner brought the Florida compact to the city board because nearly 20 percent of Sarasota’s population is Hispanic, and S.B. 136 would put more pressure on local law enforcement and negatively affect the local economy.

The Florida Compact supports federal solutions for immigration; stipulates that local law enforcement resources should focus on criminal activities, not civil violations of federal code; opposes policies that unnecessarily separate families; acknowledges the economic role immigrants play as workers and taxpayers; and calls for a humane approach to the reality of immigration.

Published in the Florida Independent | Read Article