Saying that SB 1070 had caused enough moral and economic damage to Arizona, a Phoenix-based state senator, flanked by local legislators, announced Friday a bill to repeal the controversial measure.
Sen. Steve Gallardo, from District 13, said SB 1299 would repeal SB 1070, a law largely seen internationally as anti-immigrant. Supporting Gallardo were Pima County Supervisor Richard Elías; Rep. Victoria Steele of District 9; and Rep. Stefanie Mach and Sen. Dave Bradley from District 10. They said SB 1070 was one of the most “hateful” laws ever passed. All are Democrats.
“We are going on our fourth year with Senate Bill 1070 enacted in the state of Arizona, one of the most polarizing bills ever to be introduced, the one bill that has put a black cloud and black heart on the state of Arizona,” Gallardo said during a midday press conference in the state building in downtown Tucson.
“That has hurt our economy, hurt tourism, it has made Arizona the laughingstock not only nationally but internationally.”
Democratic Tucson City Councilwoman Karin Uhlich said she hopes Gov. Jan Brewer would support it, though she has been one of SB 1070’s biggest supporters.
“Our future is inexorably linked with the future of Mexico. We cannot expect that with one hand slap a friend in the face and with the other hand, hand him flowers and hold a good relationship,” Uhlich said. “We need to repeal SB 1070, we need to open the gateway to the sun corridor, which is the border, and we need to work together.”
Brewer’s office did not respond to requests for comments.
Steele said Tucson is an accepting, diverse city. Instead, due to SB 1070’s reputation around the country, the city and the whole state are commonly the butts of jokes on late-night comedy shows.
“That is disgusting. We should not be seen as a backward, bigoted state,” said Steele, who co-signed Gallardo’s bill. “We are so much better than that. We are an amazing place.”
Gallardo acknowledged that his bill has an uphill battle ahead. He conceded that it could take a long time before it is put to a vote but vowed that he would fight to turn it into law.
He said: “Keep in mind folks, it took (former state Senate President) Russell Pearce four years to get Senate Bill 1070 passed. It may take us longer to get it repealed. But we are not going to stop until we get it repealed.”