Business Perspective on SB 1070 Ruling

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Glenn Hamer, President and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry comments on the U.S. Supreme Court decision on SB 1070.

Ted Simons: Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court upheld part of Senate Bill 1070 while ruling that three others were preempted By federal law. Here to share the business perspective on that decision is Glenn Hamer, president and CEO of the Arizona chamber Of commerce and industry. I keep saying upheld. Actually they just did not strike it down. It could have a future life here. In general, your response to the court's decision?

Glenn Hamer: I believe that the supreme court did a brilliant job and justice Kennedy really wrote a very thoughtful decision that is going to help not only Arizona, it will help the 49 other states in terms of how they approach this issue. But there is also a very strong statement out there to the United States Congress and to the administration that the ball is in their court. Ultimately it is going to be the federal government that is going to have to fix our immigration system.

Ted Simons: And yet the decision also pretty much neutered what was left -- I mean, the surrounding decisions left what was remaining somewhat lifeless.

Glenn Hamer: It is a little bit -- I'm not sure I would agree with that. It certainly took out three of the provisions. There were several provisions of the bill not before the U.S. Supreme Court. It was really a split decision. If you looked at the "New York Times" headline, it basically said that the heart of the bill will remain in effect. Wall street journal had a little bit of a different take. The key will be implementation. And, you know, one of the things that really -- I believe Governor Brewer deserves a lot of credit for how since day one she has made sure that if this law is going to go into effect, there is proper training through AZ post. We will never in the state have an Alabama situation where after Alabama passed a law, there were -- they were detaining and arresting German and I believe Japanese executives. That will never happen in the state of Arizona.

Ted Simons: The concern regarding the backlash and the impact of a backlash just for having this back in the news, just for having Arizona and 1070 connected, any concern there?

Glenn Hamer: Zero.

Ted Simons: None.

Glenn Hamer: The way the U.S. -- from the ruling and from the way the governor has approached how the implementation will occur, there is absolutely no reason why there would be a backlash. It is very clear from the U.S. Supreme's decision with the provision that remains in effect that there are guidelines. There can't be prolonged detention. There wouldn't be able to be as there shouldn't be, of course, racial profiling. I -- I believe that this will -- this decision and the reaction from our officials will keep this from causing any sort of economic issue.

Ted Simons: The entire 1070 fight, talk about the impact on Arizona. Talk about the impact on labor needs. Not just, you know, the seasonal work force needs, but skilled labor. Whole nine yards.

Glenn Hamer: And that -- the business community in -- and the statement that we released with the greater chamber of commercial, other groups, we made it clear that we need to focus on the positives. On the labor needs. We still need farm workers. We still need high-tech workers. Let's take advantage of one of the greatest assets of this country, best, brightest; hardest working people all over the world want to come here. Enough with the, you know, we have hit the theoretical limit with these types of state level enforcement provisions. It's time to focus on making sure that we have a federal solution that includes making sure that we get the best and the brightest to this country.

Ted Simons: You mentioned, as well, the threat of what you called your quote here, confusing patchwork of state laws. I have to tell you, Glenn that sounds like a lot of opponents of 1070.

Glenn Hamer: There is a patchwork. Since 1070 went into effect, five or so states have passed copycat or similar type laws. I believe the U.S. Supreme Court was looking at that. It has reached a point where you can't have 50 secretaries of states. There is a quote in their by Justice Kennedy that is really dead on. Immigration policy can affect trade, investment, tourism, and diplomatic relations for the entire nation. The Supreme Court is saying this is a federal responsibility. But at the same time the supreme court did acknowledge, appropriately so, that states like Arizona have had some real issues, and there needs to be some sort of way that the state can deal with the public safety portion of this.

Ted Simons: Indeed. But the court said you can't make it a state crime. So critics of what the court did and those who do not see this necessarily for pro 1070. They're looking at business and saying business still will be building on the backs of illegal immigration and that is what business seems to want. They are not fighting 1070 very hard. What is your response?

Glenn Hamer: Businesses are not -- the employer sanctions case was decided in a different way. I mean, the Supreme Court said that the legal Arizona workers act passed by Arizona passed constitutional muster. No, the business community, we want a rationale system where we can bring in the workers that we need to improve our economy. I mean, when you take a look on the higher tech side, an a very significant percentage of tech companies have a founder who is not a native of the United States of America. Think of the ecosystem. Think of all of the jobs that are created.

Ted Simons: Was this decision a Victory for Arizona?

Glenn Hamer: It was a Victory for the American people.

Ted Simons: Glenn, it is good to have you here. Thank you for joining us. We appreciate it.

Glenn Hamer: Thank you.

Glenn Hamer : President and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry

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