Sacramento considers AZ-like immigration bill

April 4, 2011 9:18:10 PM PDT
Supporters of a bill to toughen immigration laws staged a rally at the state capitol on Monday, with help from an Arizona legislator, trying to help pass a bill similar to the law in Arizona that stirred up so much controversy.

Some California conservatives say they cannot wait for the federal government to enforce federal immigration laws, so they are taking Arizona's lead.

"You can't ignore what's coming across the border," said St. Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Arizona.

Pearce, who wrote his state's controversial immigration law, brought his message to California to drum up support for a similar bill already in the works in Sacramento. AB 26, sponsored by Assemblyman Tim Donnelly -- who is also a Minuteman -- toughens up on illegal immigration by allowing law enforcement to ask people they stop for proof of citizenship and ending sanctuary cities.

"Illegal is not a race. It's a crime, and it affects every one of our families and our neighborhoods," said Pearce.

Jamil Shaw, Sr., of Los Angeles says his college-bound son was gunned down three years ago by an illegal immigrant who was gang member. Shaw said he's joined the crusade because he wants his streets safe again.

"Here, we're giving you a chance for the American dream and here you're giving us the American nightmare," said Shaw.

A small group of counter-protesters demonstrated nearby.

"We are against this type of legislation because we don't know how an undocumented looks like," said Lino Peders, an AB 26 opponent.

Latino Caucus Chairman Assemblyman Tony Mendoza doesn't believe AB 26 will have enough votes to pass out of committee because it's not how the majority of Californians feel.

"We're trying to create an atmosphere of creating a good working relationship with each other. These kinds of bills only create divisiveness and creates animosity," said Assm. Tony Mendoza, D-Latino Caucus Chairman.

The Assembly Judiciary Committee votes on AB-26 first thing Tuesday morning. Despite its slim chances for passage, some undocumented immigrants ABC7 spoke with say they are nervous because they believe there will be several attempts to get this law passed.

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