BOSTON (CBS/AP) — A bipartisan group of state lawmakers has unveiled a bill aimed at clamping down on illegal immigration in Massachusetts.
The bill was sparked in part by a traffic death of Matthew Denice in Milford linked to an illegal immigrant and news reports Monday that a native of Mexico previously deported on charges of drunken driving had been arrested Saturday by Boxborough police and charged again with drunken driving.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030′s Kim Tunnicliffe reports
The bill is designed to toughen restrictions on illegal immigrants seeking state benefits or trying to find work.
WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson reports
It would also stiffen penalties for operating a car without a license.
Senator Richard Moore (D) Uxbridge, who lives in the same district, as Denice, says, “This legislation offers a comprehensive solution to the problems created by illegal immigration,” He says, “This is not a partisan issue and we must work together in the name of public safety.”
Senator Bruce Tarr (R) Gloucester, told reporters today, “Enough is enough. We continue to see those that abuse the laws of the Commonwealth, threaten public safety, abuse public resources, and divert government from it’s principal purpose which is to protect public safety and ensure precious tax payer dollars… are spend appropriately.”
Rep John Fernandes (D) of Milford, says “There is nothing in this legislation that seeks to preempt the status of the federal government as the place where the enforcement of immigration rests. We are not attempting to do what other states have done in that regard.” He says the state must act because Washington has not. “The failure of the federal government to enforce immigration laws has an impact on our state and our local communities.”
Sen Moore agrees, “Hopefully it also puts a little pressure on our friends in Washington to get their act together and deal with the issue of immigration reform.”
The bill also seeks to strengthen the state’s ties to a federal program that checks the immigration status of those arrested.
Immigration advocates say the state should pass comprehensive legislation instead of scapegoating immigrants.
WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson contributed to this report.
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