[JURIST] The Arizona House approved [press release] a bill [SB 1070 materials] Tuesday that would establish one of the strictest illegal immigration [JURIST news archive] policies in the nation. The bill would criminalize being in the US without proper documentation and would give law enforcement officers increased ability [NYT report] to require individuals suspected of being illegal immigrants to provide proof of their legal status. The proposal has been heavily criticized by immigrant rights groups. Chris Newman, Legal Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network condemned the bill [press release] as "the most anti-immigrant legislation the country has seen in a generation." The bill now moves to the Senate, where it is expected to be approved and sent to Governor Jan Brewer, who will likely approve the final version.
In 2008, Arizona voters defeated a ballot measure [JURIST report] dealing with illegal immigrants. The initiative would have revoked the business licenses of employers that knowingly hire illegal immigrants and would have strengthened penalties for identity theft. More illegal immigrants enter the US through Arizona's border than through any other state, and citizens have expressed frustration with the federal government's failure to prevent illegal immigration.