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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Immigrant trespassing bill passed by state Legislature

    PHOENIX – The Senate and House yesterday approved legislation allowing local law enforcement to arrest illegal immigrants for trespassing.

    The bill will be sent to Gov. Janet Napolitano, who refused to say whether she would sign the bill into law.

    Late yesterday afternoon, Napolitano’s office released more than a dozen letters from local law enforcement urging her to veto the legislation.

    Sen. Barbara Leff, R-Paradise Valley, who wrote the legislation, said its intention was to give local law enforcement the authority to arrest illegal immigrants for trespassing. Once arrested for trespassing, Leff said, the illegal immigrants would be turned over to federal agencies like Border Patrol or Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    “”All too often we hear that law enforcement cannot enforce federal law, so nothing is done. Under this proposal, local law enforcement will not be enforcing federal law, they will be enforcing Arizona’s law.””

    Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, agreed.

    “”It’s a shame we have to pass laws to enforce laws,”” he said.

    The bill would make the crime a misdemeanor on the first offense, although repeated offenses would be a felony and subject to a one-year prison term.

    The bill has drawn sharp criticism from Democrats in the Legislature, who have a litany of complaints about the legislation from racial profiling to constitutional concerns.

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