A sweeping immigration reform bill in Arizona has passed a critical procedural vote and will move to the Senate floor.
According to media reports, an Arizona Senate committee approved a sweeping bill on Feb. 22 that would deny automatic citizenship to children of illegal immigrants. The legislation would also require employers to check residency status of new workers, and schools to verify citizenship of their students. In addition, illegal immigrants who are caught driving in the state would face a minimum 30-day jail sentence if the measure is approved by lawmakers.
The bill was approved 7-6 and will now be considered by the full Senate. Supporters of the law hope that their action will prompt a judicial re-interpretation of the 14th Amendment, which guarantees legal status to people who are born in the United States. They believe that automatic citizenship for children of illegal immigrants burdens American taxpayers.
"If you're in the country illegally, you don't have a right to public benefits, period," said State Senator Russell Pearce (R-Mesa), quoted by FOX News.
Several States have proposed tougher immigration laws in recent months in an effort to curb steep budget deficits. For example, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Georgia lawmakers recently proposed legislation that would require healthcare providers and schools to keep a running tally of the illegal immigrants that they serve. The information, which would be made public, aims to give an accurate projection of what illegal immigration is costing State taxpayers.