People suspected of crimes in Wisconsin would have to prove they were legally in the United States or be turned over to federal immigration authorities under a bill that will be introduced next year in the newly Republican state Legislature.
But he noted Wednesday that his bill is smaller in scope than the Arizona law that has drawn international attention and a lawsuit by the U.S. Department of Justice.
“This is minor in comparison of what could be done and should be done by the federal government,” Pridemore said.
Under Pridemore’s bill, those arrested or charged with a crime would have to show they are legally in the state with a passport, birth certificate, immigration documents or other records, if police had a reasonable suspicion they were here illegally.
They would be held in jail for up to 48 hours. If they could not prove legal presence in the state by then, they would be turned over to immigration authorities.
Pridemore noted the bill applied only to those under suspicion of violating a law. Someone pulled over for a broken tail light might have to prove his identity, but a passenger in the vehicle would not, he said.
The bill would allow citizens to sue municipalities and counties if they did not believe they were enforcing the immigration law. Those communities could pay fines of $500 a day for not complying with the law.
The bill also would prevent local governments from passing ordinances barring officials from inquiring about the immigration status of those receiving public services. Pridemore said he put that in the bill in response to a Madison ordinance, which would be automatically repealed if the bill passed.
Dealing with ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION needs to be done in Wisconsin. As soon as the economic crisis facing the state has been dealt with it should be a priority to pass this or something even closer to Arizona’s law.
As state Senator Grothman points out:
“It sure is frustrating that the federal government under Clinton, Obama and Bush seems not to take our immigration laws seriously,” Grothman said. “I have a lot of sympathy for Representative Pridemore’s efforts.”
That’s the key if the federal government took immigration seriously, this proposal wouldn’t be needed.
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