Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Why Is Nevada G-O-TEA Doubling Down on Anti-Immigrant Hysteria?

On the heels of yesterday's US Supreme Court ruling striking down most of Arizona's SB 1070, there's been plenty of speculation on what it means for us here in Nevada.

First off, can it come here? A Northern Nevada Assembly Republican is trying.

In response to the opinion handed down by the court, Assemblyman Ira Hansen, R-Sparks, asked legislative bill drafters Monday to rewrite his measure that failed last session.

Hansen said this time, the proposed law will have the advantage of having the constitutional boundaries established by the Supreme Court. But Hansen is under no illusions he’ll be more successful. [...]

Hansen’s bill isn’t the only time Nevada’s powerful industries opposed an effort to institute an Arizona-type immigration law here.

During the heat of the 2010 U.S. Senate Republican primary, former Assemblyman Chad Christensen, R-Las Vegas, filed an initiative petition to put an Arizona law in front of Nevada voters. The state’s gaming lobby quickly stepped up to oppose the effort, including the Nevada Resort Association and Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

The industry argued such a law could lead to a tourism boycott of Nevada.

But the industry’s workforce is also heavily Hispanic, individuals who could be subjected to the racial profiling that opponents of Arizona’s law say it engenders.

And that's likely why an Arizona style "Papers Please" law won't be coming here any time soon. Remember when Chad Christensen tried desperately to save his political career? It looks like Ira Hansen now wants to bring Chad Christensen's legacy back from the political dead and threaten to wipe out our economy.

Wait, why did I just say that last part? Let me explain.

Nevada's economy is still largely dependent on tourism and the free movement of people. And even if/when we ever decide to diversify our economy, we still need a free movement of people to make that possible. If Nevada were to pass an Arizona SB 1070 clone, we'd be draining the life blood out of our own economy.

Don't believe me? Look at what's happened to all the states that have so far adopted Arizona like statutes. The numbers don't lie, and those numbers aren't painting a pretty picture.

Yet despite the growing evidence proving that anti-immigrant SB 1070 style bills hurt the economy, why is Ira Hansen still pursuing one for Nevada? Oh, it's just the same reason why Mitt Romney still supports SB 1070. It's the same reason why retiring Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) is suggesting impeaching President Obama. And it's the same reason why Dean Heller and Joe Heck are still sticking up for Joe Arpaio and Jan Brewer.

Simply put, hysterical xenophobia turns on the G-O-TEA base. And because their "minority outreach" just isn't working, they may have no choice left but to double down on the crazy and hope a repackaging of their xenophobia can somehow appeal to older white voters with economic anxiety. That's really all they have left.

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