Senate Passes Immigration Reform different from House Print
Friday, 22 April 2011 10:55
The Alabama Senate passed a bill intended to crack down on illegal immigration on Thurs­day, but the version is different from one passed earlier by the House of Representatives.
The Senate passed the bill 26-6 after contentious debate that included some critical words between Republicans.
Even among Republicans there are strong disagreements about how to handle the issue of illegal immigration.
Gov. Robert Bentley, a Re­publican in his first year in of­fice, said he met with the spon­sors in his office and asked them to work out the differ­ences in their proposals. He said he met with Sen. Scott Bea­son and Rep. Micky Hammon a week ago.
Bentley said they need to come up with a bill that is good and legally defendable.
Beason's bill would not al­low people who are here illegal­ly to receive public benefits. It allows people to file a civil com­plaint in court against a public official who 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, R-Gardendale, said the hiring of those officers would be reimbursed by the federal government.
Unlike the House version, businesses would not be re­quired to use the federal E-Verify system to check on the legal status of potential employees. Businesses that do work for the state would have to use the E-Verify sys­tem.
"We're still saying you can't hire these people. If you get caught, you better have done something," Bea­son said. But he said he did not want the legislation to be a burden to a man who has a small business that hires his friend who lives down the street.
Beason's bill would also criminalize "concealing, har­boring, or shielding" people here illegally; criminalize dealing with false identifica­tion documents; prohibits any person here illegally from obtaining a drivers 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.
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