Monday, November 10, 2008

Election results show immigration is still a major concern in Arizona

The re-election of Arizona’s Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and County Attorney Andrew Thomas demonstrate that in Arizona, immigration continues to be a major issue. Both Arpaio and Thomas vowed to continue to combat illegal immigration and suggested they may even step up their efforts in light of their victories.

Arizona voters also rejected Proposition 202, a measure backed by business groups that would have weakened aspects of the state's tough employer sanctions law.

Over the past year, Arpaio and Thomas have teamed up to launch a series of immigration-related sweeps and worksite raids that have led to the arrests of several hundred illegal immigrants. Many county residents have cheered the efforts.

Raul Yzaguirre, the former president of the National Council of La Raza, a Latino organization, and now a professor at Arizona State University, said he is concerned that the current economic downturn could deepen frustration over illegal immigration as more Americans lose their jobs.

Yzaguirre and other immigrant advocates said they are hopeful that President-elect Barack Obama and the Democrat -controlled Congress will pass immigration reforms that will solve illegal immigration.

"At a certain level, (voters) have a right to be frustrated. The current system is not working and we need reform," Yzaguirre admitted.

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