Reported By Cara Kumari
The public is getting a first look at how Tennessee lawmakers plan to crack down on illegal immigration in the state. Legislators want to pass a law similar to Arizona's proposal, but they said they plan to go a step further.
The new plan will be aimed at four sectors: * Law enforcement * Businesses * Health care * Higher education
While state lawmakers likely have the votes to get any plan passed to combat illegal immigration, there are some with big concerns.
Tennessee lawmakers took a trip to Arizona in July to learn about that state's new immigration law with the intent of crafting their own version in the Volunteer State. But they said their plan to tackle illegal immigration has more components.
"We're a little bit behind. Tennesseans have some catching up to do because the magnitude of the problem isn't as great. It doesn't mean it's not a serious problem," said Rep. Joe Carr, (R) Lascassas.
The first component will be related to law enforcement like Arizona's law and require police to check the immigration status of those they detain or arrest.
The second part will deal with employers, requiring the use of E-Verify, which allows employers to check employees Social Security information to make sure its legal.
Carr is also working on a higher education plan that would possibly restrict illegal immigrants from receiving in-state tuition at colleges and universities.
He said there will also be a health care plan that would somehow reduce the burden of illegal immigrants seeking nonemergency care at emergency rooms.
"The size of the problem -- 150,000 illegal immigrants, $450 million a year -- is no longer tolerated by this community," said Carr.
But there could be some negatives from the proposal.
A study released Thursday showed that Arizona has lost about $200 million in lodging and direct spending because of groups boycotting the state. There are concerns the same thing could happen in Nashville.
"I have agreed to sit down with the representatives of the Hotel and Lodging Association, the Restaurant Association, those organizations that are affected with employees working here, but I think we have a good chance to pass this piece of legislation," said Sen. Bill Ketron, (R) Murfreesboro.
Ketron said if this plan passes, he expects to get sued by the federal government. But he said they expect the federal government to sue them for a lot of other upcoming proposals as well.
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