After spending the first several months of the year focused on enacting legislation to end collective bargaining by public employees’ unions, the Republican-controlled Ohio General Assembly is starting to turn its attention to immigrants. In addition to SB 98, the proposal to enact a statewide 287(g) program that I wrote about last week, state legislators are now weighing House Concurrent Resolution 11, a proposal to send a message of “support” to Arizona.
HCR 11 claims that Arizona has a “right and responsibility to…seek the enforcement of federal immigration laws.” Though the proposal does not specify which Arizona legislation it is intended to support, presumably its sponsor Courtney Combs (R) had Arizona’s well-publicized S.B. 1070 in mind. Last week the Ninth Circuit maintained the district court’s preliminary injunction on most of S.B. 1070 because the INA preempts this type of state-level immigration policing. HCR 11, therefore, rhetorically embraces unconstitutional legislation.
The proposal also claims that “[t]he federal government’s failure to enforce federal immigration laws and to secure the Mexican-American border has burdened Ohio and other states with a proliferation of illicit drugs and placed an unforeseen financial strain on local and state governments.”
Importantly, HCR 11 would not have any concrete policy impact in Ohio or elsewhere. As written it is merely a formal message of support to Arizona. A concurrent resolution but be approved by the state House and Senate, but does not require the governor’s signature. As of April 17, thirteen House members, all Republicans, had cosponsored it.