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Will Idaho demand your papers?

One point relating to the just-signed Arizona law on illegal immigrants that almost everyone ought to be able to agree on, maybe the only point, is this: Its impact is extremely likely to spread far beyond the borders of Arizona.

One impact could come in Idaho, another state where (though to a lesser degree than in Arizona) illegal immigration is a hot topic. One state legislator involved in it is state Senator Mike Jorgenson, R-Hayden Lake, who has worked with the Arizona law’s sponsor (Senator Russell Pearce), champions the law and would like to see Idaho do something similar.

The Coeur d’Alene Press quotes him as saying, “I’m just tickled to death with what they’re doing. One of these days I think Idaho’s going to look back and say ‘I wish this had happened sooner.'”

Watch for it in the bill filings of the next legislative session. (Jorgenson is opposed in the primary election but not in the general; he is highly likely to be back in Boise next January.)

The view from here is that the new Arizona law is a moral abomination and lunacy as a practical matter, and extremely likely to be tossed out in court. As a political matter, it also could have the effect of energizing a latino voting base that often has been under-represented and under-organized in many western states, including Idaho. The repercussions may go far and wide.

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