Immigration Bill Clears Senate Committee

by Tony McVeigh on January 6, 2011

An immigration bill modeled after a similar law in Arizona has cleared a Kentucky Senate committee.

Senator John Schickel says federal authorities aren’t getting the job done when it comes to removing illegal aliens from Kentucky. So, he’s sponsoring legislation that would allow state and local police, upon reasonable suspicion, to check a person’s immigration status.

“If they determine that the person entered the country illegally, then that person is to be taken to federal authorities for deportation,” he says.

Schickel says the measure could not be enforced in a cavalier fashion.

“The law requires that it be a lawful contact,” he says. “Next, police discretion is authorized to make sure that there is reasonable suspicion. And lastly, as I said before, the circumstances has to be practical.”

Opponents argue the bill goes further than the Arizona law, which is already being challenged in federal court, and its costs have not been properly evaluated. Louisville Senator Perry Clark, sees no need for the bill.

“All this is current federal law. It’s on the books. I find most of this to be redundant and unnecessary. It will do nothing to advance solutions to real comprehensive immigration reform on the national level. It’s very divisive here. This is a terribly written law,” says Clark. “It’s terribly timed legislation. I vote no!”

Despite the concerns, the measure passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on an 8-3 vote and now heads to the Senate floor.

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