Senate panel votes on measure to combat illegal immigration

Phoenix, AZ – The measure would let police arrest anyone they just reasonably
believe is in this country illegally. It would make it a crime to
stop a vehicle on the street to pick up someone to do day labor.
It would make it easier to conduct sting operations to see if
companies are hiring undocumented workers. And it would allow
lawsuits against cities and counties that have policies which
limit immimmigration enforcement to -- quote -- less than the
full extent permitted by federal law. Sen. Al Melvin said Arizona
needs to act because the failure of the federal government to
secure the border is costing state taxpayers $2 billion a year in
education, health care and prisons.

(If we could solve this issue -- and this legislation takes us in
that direction -- we could in many ways almost eliminate our
budget woes, these gut-wrenching billions in budget deficits.)

John Thomas, lobbyist for the Arizona Association of Chiefs of
Police, said local law enforcement officers who don't have
special training cannot arrest those they suspect of being in
violation of federal immigration laws. But bill sponsor Russell
Pearce said all police have the inherent authority to enforce all
federal laws. The committee vote now sends the bill to the full
Senate. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.