Immigration debate begins to heat up in Kentucky

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January 3, 2011

Portal:State legislatures

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky: Immigration reform is expected to be one of the top issues discussed when the Kentucky Legislature begins its new session on January 4. State Senate President David Williams (R) is pushing a proposal that is modeled on the controversial Arizona law. This proposal would allow illegal immigrants to be charged with trespassing if they set foot on public or private property.[1] It also would require local law enforcement to check immigration status while enforcing other laws.[2]

Williams' proposal is part of a larger agenda he is attempting to pass during the first week of the new session, which is normally used for organizing committees. Williams is running for the Republican nomination for Governor in 2011, and most believe this is the reason for his ambitious agenda. Democratic Speaker of the House Gregory Stumbo said the House would not speed up its business, stating, “None of us are running for governor over here, so we don’t feel the need to have a formal agenda at this time when it’s kind of a slow news time.”[3]

However, Stumbo has endorsed legislation that would require employers to check citizenship status before hiring, saying, "If you really want to solve the immigration issue, then you make the burden on the employers, because if the jobs aren't here, neither would the illegal immigrants be here."[1]

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