Arizona Advances Anti-Illegal Immigrant Bills

Arizona lawmakers advanced a set of anti-illegal immigrant laws this week that make provisions of last year's SB1070 seem mild.

SB1611, an omnibus immigration bill sponsored by Senate President Russell Pearce, was passed on Tuesday by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Among other restrictions, the provisions of the bill would prevent undocumented immigrants from driving in the state, sending their children to school, and would force employers to comply with federal screenings of their workers.

The bill also proposes denying birthright citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants - a direct challenge to the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment.

"If you're in the country illegally, you don't have a right to public benefits, period," said Pearce, who was also the lead sponsor of SB1070, on Tuesday.

The new bill comes just a few weeks after Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne filed a counterclaim against the U.S. Justice Department's lawsuit against SB1070, which allows local law enforcement to demand documentation from immigrants at a moment's notice.

The bill, which was scheduled to go into effect on July 29, 2010, had an injunction placed on it by a federal judge just one day before it became a law.

"We did not ask for this fight. We did not start this fight," Brewer said earlier this month. "We will not rest until our border is secure and the laws are enforced."

A vote on SB1611 by the Arizona Congress is expected soon.

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