By Jim Small, firstname.lastname@example.org
Wake Up Arizona!, the coalition of business owners opposing the employer sanctions program Napolitano signed earlier this month, launched their effort to educate the pubic and support a lawsuit challenging the legislation at a press conference today.
Mac Magruder, who owns several McDonald’s restaurants, said the group would join in the lawsuit filed last week challenging the constitutionality of H2779 (Laws 2007, Chapter 279). He said the primary goal of the group would be to educate the public about the unintended consequences of the soon-to-be law, which he termed the “job destruction act.”
“The ripple effect will touch most of the businesses in Arizona and its employees,” he said.
Other business owners lamented the economy-wide effect of shutting down businesses. Danny Hendon, owner of Danny’s Family Car Wash, said, “The chain reaction of potential job loss is stunning.”
Ray Arvizu, who operates Arvizu Advertising, said the state is treading onto federal ground with this legislation.
“If they’re going to take on employer sanction, why didn’t they come up with a guest-worker program while they were at it, too?” he said.
Others, including Jason LeVecke, a Carl’s Jr. franchisee and chairman of Arizona Employers for Immigration Reform, said the notion of immigrants being used as a source of cheap labor is a myth.
“I challenge you to find that cheap labor in this state,” he said, instead saying the demand for jobs is there because the economy adds more jobs each year than American workers can perform.
Magruder said the reality of the situation was that those harmed most by the legislation wouldn’t be the business owners, but the legal employees who are out of a job if a business license gets revoked.
“When brown people lose their jobs, white people lose their jobs. That’s a fact,” he said.
For the immediate short term, Wake Up Arizona! will focus on supporting the lawsuit.
“The best of all worlds is not a special session. The best of all worlds is rescinding the bill,” he said. “That probably won’t happen, so the next best thing would be for it to be struck down.”
Magruder also said the coalition was discussing a competing initiative for the 2008 ballot to challenge the Legal Arizona Workers Act initiative, which is being spearheaded by former gubernatorial candidate Don Goldwater.