The measure, long sought by opponents of illegal
immigration, passed in the state House of Representatives. The state
Senate passed a similar measure earlier this year, and Republican Gov.
The bill's author, State Sen.
But police were deeply divided on the matter, with police unions backing it but the state police chief's association opposed the bill, contending it could erode trust with immigrants who could be potential witnesses.
Immigrant rights groups were horrified, and contended that
"It's beyond the pale," said
The bill prevents any government agency from formulating policies to prevent enforcement of immigration laws and permits citizens to sue if they believe a law enforcement agency is failing to enforce the law.
It requires law enforcement officers who have a "reasonable suspicion" that someone is an illegal immigrant to determine that person's immigration status "when practicable." Previously, police who wanted to inquire about immigration status could only do it after stopping people for possibly violating other laws.
A provision in the bill states that race or ethnicity cannot be the sole grounds for asking about immigration status, but civil rights groups note that authorities are not barred from using them along with other factors that raise suspicions.
The measure also makes it illegal to solicit work as a day laborer or to hire day laborers.
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