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Arizona Softens Tone on Illegal Immigrants

Wall Street Journal (02/13/12) Miriam Jordan

Since passing legislation in 2010 that made being an undocumented immigrant a crime and required police to make inquiries about immigration status, Arizona may be easing its approach to illegal immigration. The “Arizona Accord,” rolled out by business, civic, and religious leaders in January, calls for solutions on the federal level, emphasizes immigrants’ economic contributions, supports keeping families together, and encourages inclusion. Some lawmakers who supported state measures to crack down on illegal immigration now question the effectiveness of such a law and believe state and federal agencies can collaborate on a solution.

Meanwhile, a measure being considered in the current legislative session would ease a 2007 law cracking down on employers of illegal immigrants, providing a safe harbor for businesses that use the E-Verify system to check a worker’s status. Business leaders say the 2010 law hurt the tourism and convention industry and put a damper on some businesses, which were questioned about the status of their employees.