Critics Say Senate Immigration Bill Will Be Expensive, Difficult To Enforce

Kentucky House hearings continue on a Senate immigration enforcement bill that puts the onus on law enforcement to determine a person’s immigration status.

Hopkinsville Police Chief Guy Howie believes the bill will increase costs because it will require additional training for police officers. He also fears it will put an additional strain on local jails.

“We are already releasing convicted felons early from prison,” he says. “Now we are going to inundate the local system with misdemeanor-type individuals that are committing possibly a victimless crime.”

Marilyn Daniel of a legal clinic in Lexington says there are many varying levels of immigration status, and that will make the law even more difficult to enforce.

“They could be an unauthorized alien on Monday and then they have permanent residence on Tuesday. So, this is a changing situation. In fact, a person could be an alien on Monday and a citizen on Tuesday,” she says.

The Senate bill, approved in January, remains in House committee. On Tuesday, the House voted 90-6 for an immigration bill that puts the onus on employers to determine the immigration status of their employees. That bill awaits Senate action

By Tony McVeigh

Veteran broadcast journalist Tony McVeigh has been covering Kentucky politics since 1986, reporting for Clear Channel Communications before joining Kentucky Public Radio in 2004. His stories are aired by seven KPR affiliates, whose signals blanket the Commonwealth and parts of surrounding states. McVeigh began his broadcasting career at WRFC in Athens, Georgia, while earning a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Georgia. He has extensive anchor/reporter experience, including stints with South Carolina Network and Georgia Radio News Service in Atlanta. In 2007 and 2008, McVeigh was named Best Radio Reporter in the Kentucky Associated Press Awards. He also picked up consecutive AP Awards for Best Political Coverage. McVeigh won four Kentucky AP Awards in 2009, six in 2010 - including Best Political Coverage and Best Hard News Feature - and three in 2011. His coverage of the 2007 Kentucky governor's race topped the Political Reporting category of the Society of Professional Journalists Green Eyeshade Awards of 2008. In 2009, McVeigh placed second in Courts and Law Reporting in the Atlanta-based competition for journalists in 11 Southern states. McVeigh is also the proud recipient of an Individual Liberty Award from the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. The Brunswick, Georgia, native is a die-hard UGA football fan who enjoys photography, astronomy, live music, hiking Kentucky's Red River Gorge and exploring the state's beautiful back roads. McVeigh and his big, fat, black cat Simon, reside in Frankfort, KY.