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Arizona Senate rejects 5 bills on illegal immigration

The measures, some intended to provoke a Supreme Court ruling, included barring automatic citizenship for U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants and requiring hospitals to check uninsured patients residency status.

March 18, 2011|By Stephen Ceasar

The Arizona Senate rejected five immigration bills Thursday, including two that would have barred automatic citizenship for U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants.

The measures, which were intended to force the U.S. Supreme Court to resolve the issue, failed on votes of 12 to 18 and 11 to 19.

"We finally stood up for what is right for the state of Arizona," said state Sen. Steve M. Gallardo, a Democrat from Phoenix. "We cannot solve a federal problem on the floor of the Arizona state Senate. We have our own challenges we need to deal with."

The majority Republicans were split over Thursday's five votes, which stood in marked contrast to last year, when the state passed a controversial immigration measure that triggered protests, legal challenges and boycotts.

With the state's economy still lagging, some business leaders campaigned against the latest bills.

One of the bills defeated Thursday would have required hospitals to check the immigration status of patients who could not provide proof of insurance and to report those who were unable to prove their legal status. Another would have required schools to file reports on enrollment of illegal immigrants.

Yet another measure, introduced by Senate President Russell Pearce, a Republican, would have prohibited illegal immigrants from attending public universities or driving a car in the state and would have required anyone applying for any public benefit to prove citizenship.

Pearce, who supported all five bills Thursday, penned last year's controversial immigration law, Arizona SB 1070.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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