Though the Arkansas Times may have been mildly critical of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce on occasion, the two can stand shoulder to shoulder in support of a worthy cause. If only the members of Congress could so generously put aside their political differences in order to strive for the common good. Washington, look to Little Rock!
Representatives of groups supporting Latino rights in Arkansas gathered at the Capitol Monday to applaud a U.S. Supreme Court decision that invalidated most of Arizona's tough new anti-immigrant law. The Arkansas group has said all along that problems with immigration require a uniform national response, not wildly varied state-by-state fixes. The Supreme Court agreed Monday, Justice Anthony Kennedy writing for the majority that "Arizona may have understandable frustrations with the problems caused by illegal immigration while that process continues, but the state may not pursue policies that undermine federal law."
Chamber of Commerce representatives and Alan Leveritt, publisher of the Times and the Spanish-language El Latino, are members of a coalition that worked successfully to dissuade Arkansas legislators from enacting anti-immigrant laws during the last legislative session. Religious leaders and civil rights groups are in the coalition too. Steve Copley of the Arkansas Interfaith Alliance spoke at the gathering Monday, as did Holly Dickson, staff attorney for the ACLU.
Leveritt told the group that anti-immigrant laws like those in Arizona (and Alabama) are "profoundly anti-business," and create a poisonous climate for all workers. "These laws do nothing but harass and drive people away," he said.
That Arizona enacted vindictive and irresponsible legislation on immigrants, only to see most of the laws struck down by the Supreme Court, strengthens the belief that Arizona lacks the sort of enlightened leadership that Arkansas has. Governance without gunfire. We recommend it.