Immigration: How ‘contagious’ is Arizona ‘flu’?

It’s risky to be the first to do anything. But when a bold new step is taken, others soon follow. Now that Arizona passed the toughest illegal immigration law in decades, other states are following suit. Contagion is the word for it. Once others do something, it’s less risky to do it yourself. A precedent is set. A new model is available.

Conservative legislators and candidates around the nation are thinking of imitating Arizona. Here’s a list of states favoring a law like Arizona’s, based on a compilation by Is your state on the list? California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Ohio, Texas and Utah.

Why these states? Are there lots of illegal immigrants living in these states? Here’s what I found out, using statistics from Five of these states (plus Arizona) are on the “top ten” list—those with the highest number of illegal immigrants per capita: California, Texas, Colorado, Utah and Georgia. (Illinois, New York, and New Jersey are also among the top ten, but appear to be immune from contagious Arizona.) Four more are among the top 30: Florida is #15 on the list, Nebraska #18, Oklahoma #22, and Maryland #27.

But consider this: Missouri is #38, and Ohio is far down on the list: #40. Why are they susceptible to the Arizona flu? Maybe it’s Joe the Plumber?

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(Originally published in

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