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Coalition leader: Platform a reasoned approach to immigration reform

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PHOENIX — In May 2010, in the wake of the Arizona State Legislature passing SB 1070, a group of Arizona business and civil rights groups, along with some individuals, came together to talk about immigration reform. The group, now called The Real Arizona Coalition, includes political opposites like staunch conservative Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery and liberal civil rights attorney Daniel Ortega, among others. On Dec. 5, after two years of discussion, the group released a platform for immigration reform.

The platform is called the “S.A.N.E. Solution to Federal Immigration Reform,” which refers to securing the border, accounting for those in the U.S. unlawfully, reforming the immigration process to improve efficiency and engaging all levels of government to create a system for employers nationwide to ensure their workers are in the country legally.

James Garcia, a co-founder of the coalition and the chair of the Arizona Latino Research Enterprise, sat down with Cronkite News to discuss the coalition and its platform.

Question 1: The coalition started meeting in one form or another in May 2010. Why did the meetings start? Question 2: Why not let the state Legislature work this out with the federal government? After all, didn’t SB 1070 supporters point to a lack of federal action?
Question 3: Why does the coalition see immigration as an economic issue? Question 4: What were the problem areas, the issues that the coalition couldn’t come together on?