POLITICS
07/03/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Arizona Immigration Law Spawns Panicky Exaggerations

There have been a number of items creeping into my RSS feed that seek to sound some sort of distant early warning that the immigration law, recently passed in Arizona, may soon be coming to a state legislature near you. There's little doubt that Arizona's policy petri dish may spawn the spread of such legislation.

But when you dig into the claims being made of its widespread imminence, it's pretty clear that people are getting more than a little overexcited. Time to calm down, boys and girls!

Talking Points Memo and ThinkProgress are basically swapping this whole idea around as their own folie a deux, and, by their count, we're up to ten states -- STATES! -- that are "eyeing" -- EYEING! -- making life in their states as hectic as it is in Arizona. But here's some of what passes for actual "states" contemplating the Arizona model:

--Scott McInnis, who is running for the GOP nomination for governor of Colorado, says he'll "try" to pass a law that's "very similar" to Arizona

--Nathan Deal is basically the Scott McInnis of Georgia.

--Some state legislator in Maryland wants to conduct a survey of lawmakers to see where they stand on the issue.

--Some "anti-immigration leader" in North Carolina says that the lawmakers he talks to have left him with the impression that it's likely that someone, somewhere, might propose a similar immigration law, that will struggle to get through a Democratic-led state legislature

--A couple of Republicans in Ohio sent the Democratic Governor Ted Strickland a letter, asking him to do something similar to Arizona

--A Utah "state lawmaker" is "advocating" for Utah to pass a law similar to Arizona.

Things are slightly more down-the-road in Missouri, Texas, South Carolina, and Oklahoma, where laws are either being actively championed by specific lawmakers or being considered by actual legislatures (of course, the Oklahoma citation is of an immigration law that's already been passed, so we're all a little late to the party here, aren't we?)

Over at 1115.org, Sarabeth Guthberg puts it best:

By what stretch of the imagination can any of these instances be described as the state talking about enacting the legislation? Is there a sudden outbreak of reading comprehension disease among liberal blogs?

Josh Marshall, plugging the post on the TPM home page went with "ten other states are poised to pass or debating Arizona-style immigration laws."

Really, Josh? When a gubernatorial candidate in Colorado says he intends to propose similar legislation to Arizona's (if he wins the primary, and is then elected), that means Colorado is "poised to pass or debating" that legislation?

Right. I understand everyone's concern, here. But let's get real. This is basically a list that could better be titled, "A Child's Collection Of Random Persons Tangentially Involved In Policymaking Who Support The Arizona Immigration Law." [By means of an example, here's how what's going on with Scott McInnis could be better captured (i.e. not as a state-wide contemplation).]

What's really stupid about this is that surely, with a little enterprise reporting, you could turn up some random legislator or candidate for office or "anti-immigration leader" who wants to pass the Arizona immigration law in all fifty states. Maybe even Guam! And then the headline can be, "Arizona Immigration Fever Sweeps The Nation, ZOMGZ!"

All I'm saying is, if you're going to totally freak out, the least you can do is think a little bigger.

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