Arizona lawmakers on Tuesday passed one of the toughest pieces of immigration-enforcement legislation in the country, which would make it a violation of state law to be in the U.S. without proper documentation.

It would also grant police the power to stop and verify the immigration status of anyone they suspect of being illegal.

The bill could still face a veto from Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. A spokesman for Ms. Brewer said she has not publicly commented on the bill. Ms. Brewer, a Republican, has argued for stringent immigration laws.

Under the measure, passed Tuesday by Arizona's lower house, after being passed earlier by the state Senate, foreign nationals are required to carry proof of legal residency.

Immigrants' rights groups roundly criticized the bill. "The objective is to make life miserable for immigrants so that they leave the state," said Chris Newman, general counsel for the Los Angeles-based National Day Laborer Organizing Network. "The bill constitutes a complete disregard for the rights of nonwhites in Arizona. It effectively mandates racial profiling."

The bill's author, State Sen. Russell Pearce, was in a committee session Tuesday and couldn't be reached, his offices said. Mr. Pearce, a Republican, represents the city of Mesa, in Maricopa County, whose sheriff, Joe Arpaio, has gained a national reputation for his tough stance on immigration enforcement. A spokesman for Mr. Arpaio didn't return a request for comment.

The bill is different from an earlier version, giving protections for church and community organizations from criminal prosecution for transporting or harboring illegal immigrants.

In a statement, Tuesday Rep. John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills) called the measure "a comprehensive immigration enforcement bill that addresses the concerns of our communities, constituents and colleagues."

"This updated version gives our local police officers the tools they need to combat illegal immigration, while protecting the civil rights of citizens and legal residents."However, human rights groups are certain to challenge the measure in court, said Joe Rubio, lead organizer for Valley Interfaith Project, a Phoenix-based advocacy group, calling it "an economic train wreck." He added that "Arizona's economic recovery will lag way behind the country's if we keep chasing away our workforce. Where do the legislators think business will find workers?"

The bill in some ways toughens up a situation that the Obama administration had tried to roll back. Under a program known as 287g, some local law enforcement agencies were trained to enforce federal immigration laws by checking suspects' immigration status.

Mr. Arpaio, the Maricopa county sheriff, had been one of the most aggressive enforcers of 287g. However, the Obama administration in recent months has sought to scale back that program, and had reduced the resources it made available to Mr. Arpaio's office and others.

—Tamara Audi contributed to this article.

Write to Miriam Jordan at miriam.jordan@wsj.com

A fwd article: -jt

Read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100014240527023046...

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  • rjmac7 nightlight 2010/04/14 21:45:12
    You are talking "Politicians" and "In touch with Reality" in the same thought frame. Politicians have not been in touch with reality, or listened to their constituents for years. We do not have to throw the Illegals out, just make sure they cannot get a job and they will leave on their own.
    Watch Arizona.....Birds will not flock to an Empty Bird Feeder.
  • nightlight rjmac7 2010/04/17 00:24:17
    I wasn't refering to politicians when I used the phrase "in touch with reality" but to the intentionally misleading and biased description ("toughest") used by the writer who wrote this article. I meant to point out that no one should confuse doing the right thing with being too tough or tough at all.
  • Pete 2010/04/14 20:39:29
    What on earth have they been doing all these pass 10 years? I mean come on, where is my tax dollars going to? Now, you saying they are about to began rounding up these illegal..I want to say: IT ABOUT TIME!!,,but really how much time will it take to throw all of them back? Peace be with you...
  • none 2010/04/14 20:16:52
  • Torchmanner ~PWCM~JLA 2010/04/14 20:05:28
    Torchmanner ~PWCM~JLA
    About time. Guess there won't be any 'Undocumented Democrats' from Arizona this November.
  • skisicks 2010/04/14 18:18:36
    This is good, we should have never let this get out of hand in the first place. If they are legal, let them stay if there not, send the to there own country. It's that simple.
  • k clark skisicks 2010/04/14 19:33:39
    k clark
    I do agree
  • Sheila 2010/04/14 17:34:57
    Woo Hoo!! GO AZ!!!

    I am glad to see them do something. But is it not odd that they HAD TO??

    In the wake of Katrina the LA police illegaly disarmed citizens. They were legal gunowners and within the limits of our constitution but were disarmed anyway. LA has since passed a law that says the police can not take a gun legally owned by a citizen. My first thought was "WTF??" "why did they need to pass a law to enforce the constitution?" I think the same applies here. "WTF??" a law to make illegal actually enforcable.....weird.
  • carolyn1958 2010/04/14 17:29:01
    Why in the world do we need ANOTHER LAW so that we can enforce the LAWS THAT ARE ALREADY ON THE BOOKS?? This is crazy. Just ENFORCE THE DAMN LAWS INSTEAD OF MAKING NEW ONES. Just arrest them. They R breaking OUR laws.
  • Captain Kirk~POTL 2010/04/14 17:20:47
    Captain Kirk~POTL
    Since the Feds want to allow this illegal crap to go on,I`m very glad that some people see the problem and are doing something about it!!
  • P.B. 2010/04/14 17:17:57
    That is great news! It's about time. States need to start making their own law and to Hell with the Federal Government.
  • Captain... P.B. 2010/04/14 17:22:59
    Captain Kirk~POTL
    Absolutely,the Feds want to look the other way or make them citizens,they are illegal,that in itself ought to tell them something!!
  • rjmac7 Captain... 2010/04/14 17:47:13
    This is the total disregard of the actual truth by these politicians, in that historically most Latinos almost never vote. So the idea that the politicians are figuring that if they make them citizens they will get re-elected is ridiculous.
  • Captain... rjmac7 2010/04/14 18:32:57
    Captain Kirk~POTL
    I don`t care if they want them for votes or what,they are illegal and should be thrown out of the country and enter by the rules!!
  • k clark Captain... 2010/04/14 19:36:13
    k clark
    Yes they should be thrown out they do not belong here
  • Captain... k clark 2010/04/14 19:50:08
    Captain Kirk~POTL
    Absolutely,there are legal ways to become a US citizen,not by starting out as a criminal!!
  • Pegasis 2010/04/14 16:48:09 (edited)
    Good for Arizona! Good for Oklahoma which has also passed some tough immigration
    enforcement standards!

    They will all take flight to TX and other states which eventually will be forced to also pass legislation to enforce laws related to illegal aliens.

    Goofy part is that it should not be neccessary--we have immigration law on the books, just a mandate by the feds to not enforce it.
  • Sheila Pegasis 2010/04/14 17:37:26
    Is there an actual written mandate? I wouldn't be very suprised, But I am curoius.
  • Pegasis Sheila 2010/04/14 18:10:48 (edited)
    I think there is--though it may not be called that. Policy changes almost moment to moment, but Homeland Security is currently attempting to curtail the law which allowed specially trained police officers to arrest illegal aliens caught in crimes and turn them over to ICE. Now, once again, they do not want police officers to be allowed to inquire about legal status, even after the perpetrator in caught and incarcerated. The list goes on--they have cut way back on raids on companies employing primarily illegal aliens. There are other maneuvers that are intended to protect illegal aliens at the national level from both Homeland Security and the current and the past administrations. Why they don't simply repeal the immigration laws, I don't know, but they do play fast and loose the enforcement end of them.

    Many cities are known to be sanctuary cities. Houston TX is one, though the city government has not, to my knowlege, written legislation about it. It is simply understood by word of mouth to law enforcement, citizens--and to the illegal aliens themselves. Other cities have written instruments which declare themselves to be sanctuary cities and thereby refusing to enforce federal law.
  • Sheila Pegasis 2010/04/14 19:18:39
    The whole sanctuary city thing just makes me MAD!! Why not just announce as a city "we will not abide by national law because we don't wanna." AAArrrgggghhhh

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