The law could send hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants to prison in a way never done before. And it could mean hundreds of millions of dollars in profits to private prison companies responsible for housing them.
Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce says the bill was his idea. He says it's not about prisons. It's about what's best for the country.
"Enough is enough," Pearce said in his office, sitting under a banner reading "Let Freedom Reign." "People need to focus on the cost of not enforcing our laws and securing our border. It is the Trojan horse destroying our country and a republic cannot survive as a lawless nation."
But instead of taking his idea to the Arizona statehouse floor, Pearce first took it to a hotel conference room.
This is quite a shocking story. It turns out that private prison corporations are among the main financiers of Arizona's anti-immigration bill. This puts a shocking, cynical slant on what would be deemed a disgraceful bill even if it were sincere, and not profit driven.