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Old 05-06-2011, 01:53 PM
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Jeanfromfillmore Jeanfromfillmore is offline
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Default Dueling Alabama bills target illegal immigrants

Dueling Alabama bills target illegal immigrants
The Alabama Senate passed an Arizona-style bill targeted at illegal immigration late Thursday night in hopes that its members can work with the House to iron out the differences in the two proposals.
The Republican majority brought up the House-passed version of the immigration overhaul but stripped out the details and replaced it with a previously passed Senate version.
The House and Senate passed separate versions earlier in the session, but neither chamber had brought up the other bill and the sponsors had not worked out the differences.
Sen. Scott Beason, the Senate sponsor, said he wanted to get a bill back to the House so they could go to a conference committee and work out the differences.
"I do not want to wait until the last minute of the session to try to get an immigration bill," said Beason, R-Gardendale.
With all of the rebuilding that will need to be done in the state after the tornadoes, Beason said he wanted to ensure that Alabamians will be doing the work.
After bringing up the bill, Republicans immediately cut off debate, giving Democrats just 20 minutes to discuss it.
Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, believes the bill will be found unconstitutional in court and the state would spend hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to defend a bill to "copycat Arizona."
Singleton said on Cinco de Mayo that the Senate passed a bill to discriminate against one ethnic group in the state, Hispanic people.
"I think that is the intent. I think it leads to profiling," he said.
Republicans have said they are trying to give law enforcement the tools it needs to curb illegal immigration.
Beason said people reviewed his bill to try to ensure it would withstand a court fight to overturn it.
The Senate passed the bill 23-11 just before 9 p.m.
Beason's bill does not require employers to use the federal E-Verify system to verify the legal status of a potential employee, but the House version did. The Senate version requires those performing work for the state to use E-Verify.
Beason's bill would not allow people here illegally to receive public benefits; allows people to file a civil complaint in court against a public official that is not enforcing immigration laws; requires detaining someone under certain conditions if his status cannot be verified; "requires notification of the United States Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement when an unlawfully present alien is convicted of state law;" and allows the Alabama Department of Homeland Security to hire law enforcement officers to deal with illegal immigration and gives that agency enforcement power.
Beason's bill also would criminalize "concealing, harboring, or shielding" people here illegally; criminalize dealing with false identification documents; prohibits any person here illegally from obtaining a driver's license or non-driver identification; requires the Alabama Department of Public Safety to begin issuing non-driver identification cards that indicate a person's legal presence; requires verification of the legal status of people charged with a crime for which bail is required; and requires a person to show proof of citizenship or residency before voting.
Beason has said the intent of his bill is to try to persuade illegal immigrants to relocate outside of the state.
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