Just when you thought Arizona couldn’t go any further out of its way to repel non-whites and foreigners, a state representative wants orderlies to join Phoenix’s draconian crackdown on undocumented immigrants.

According to a state ABC affiliate, State Representative Steve Smith proposed House Bill 2293 last week. It’s a bill that “would require hospital workers to attempt to verify a patient’s citizenship, essentially make a note of it and call authorities.”

Smith said his goal is to find out the amount of money hospitals spend to treat undocumented immigrants.

“They’re (hospitals) not withholding care, they’re not deporting, they’re not throwing them out, they’re not doing anything, we’re just logging information,” said Smith.

Right. It’s all about good governance. Nothing to do with scapegoating foreigners whatsoever. Except that undocumented immigrants pay far more in taxes than they receive in benefits.

The law wouldn’t just cost the state and federal government money by scaring away undocumented immigrants. It could also keep legal U.S. residents, tourists and foreign students away from Arizona. Who would want to visit a state that could end up requiring people to carry their passports on them at all time in case they get hit by a car or mugged? And what happens if a legal resident or visitor shows up at a hospital unable to verify her status?

If bill advances, it will almost certainly be amended — it hasn’t even reached committee yet. But it’s frightening to think how this legislation could affect the state.

Samuel Knight

Samuel Knight is a freelance journalist living in DC and a former intern at the Washington Monthly.