[JURIST] The Arizona Senate approved a bill [SB 1070 materials] on Monday that would establish one of the strictest illegal immigration [JURIST news archive] policies in the nation, requiring individuals suspected of being illegal immigrants to provide proof of their legal status. The bill proposes giving the police permission to determine the immigration status of any individual who arouses reasonable suspicion, criminalizing the hiring of illegal immigrants for day labor, and allowing citizens to sue the local government if they believe the policy is not being used properly. Proponents of the bill argue that the new law would decrease illegal immigration [Reuters report] in the state, which borders Mexico. However, the bill has also been heavily criticized [press release] by Arizona Democrats, as well as immigrant rights groups who say the proposed measures could lead to racial profiling [LAT report]. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) [official profile] has five days to decide whether to veto or sign the bill into law.
A week after the Arizona House approved [JURIST report] the bill, US Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) [official profiles] supported the bill and announced on Monday their proposal for additional federal controls on illegal immigration [press release], such as an increased National Guard presence and a 700-mile-long fence along the Arizona-Mexico border. 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.