Prop 200 sparks drives in other
A newly approved measure in Arizona aimed at keeping illegal immigrants from voting and obtaining some government services is encouraging groups nationwide that similar proposals could succeed in their states.
Proposition 200 has motivated groups in Georgia, Idaho and Utah to consider drafting similar proposals.
California and Colorado are already working to get immigration measures on the ballot in 2006.
"Since Proposition 200 passed, there has just been a tidal wave of interest in doing the same thing," said Jimmy Herchek, a member of Georgians for Immigration Reduction.
"There is no end in sight unless we start enforcing our immigration laws."
Supporters argue that a measure like the one Arizona voters approved Nov. 2 is needed because the government isn't keeping illegal immigrants from obtaining food stamps, welfare and other social services.
Proposition 200 requires people to produce proof of immigration status when obtaining certain government services and will punish government workers for failing to report illegal immigrants who try to get aid. It also requires proof of citizenship when registering to vote.
"People are fed up with illegal immigrants breaking the law and not being penalized," said Rosemary Jenks of NumbersUSA Action, a group that advocates reducing immigration. "If the federal government won't deal with it, this is the only avenue."
Georgians for Immigration Reduction is drafting a resolution that is a hybrid of Arizona's initiative and California's Proposition 187. Voters passed Proposition 187 in 1994, but it was challenged in court and never took effect.
In California, a group began collecting signatures in September to put a measure before voters in 2006. They need 600,000 signatures by Feb. 22, said Mike Spence, president of the California Republican Assembly, the group sponsoring the initiative.
The measure would deny illegal immigrants government IDs, contracts, driver's licenses, loans, college fees or tuition exemptions and non-federally-mandated public benefits.
Another group trying to get a measure on the 2006 ballot is Defend Colorado Now.
Ken Thomson, the executive director of Utahans for Immigration Reform, said he is concerned illegal immigrants who can no longer get services in Arizona will head elsewhere.
"Every state is going to be affected and that is going to drive voter interest," he said.