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States eye new illegal immigration tactics

  |   Dec. 21, 2011 at 9:26 PM
TOPEKA, Kan., Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Some lawmakers across the United States say they are looking for new ways to make it difficult for undocumented immigrants to live and work in their states.

With the U.S. Justice Department taking four states -- Alabama, Arizona, South Carolina and Utah -- to court to block enforcement of laws giving local police authority to conduct roadside immigration checks, lawmakers in some states are contemplating different strategies, USA Today reported Wednesday.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach told the newspaper legislators will look at ways to restrict illegal immigrants from receiving public benefits, as well as expand the use of tools such as E-Verify, which helps businesses check the status of job applicants, and Secure Communities, which allows police to check the status of those booked into local jails.

Kobach noted Alabama was the first state to invalidate all contracts with illegal immigrants, a move aimed at hamstringing their ability to earn a living, rent an apartment or take out a mortgage.

"That is one that has a much greater effect than some people might expect at first glance," Kobach said. "Suppose an illegal alien is doing some roofing business and wants to rent some equipment. Some short-term or long-term rental suddenly becomes more difficult to do."

Alabama forbids illegal immigrants from conducting any "business transaction" with a government agency.

An immigration attorney told the newspaper the various restrictions have "led to nothing short of chaos in the state."

"They've been applied to a striking range of activities, from getting tags on your cars to getting public utilities to changing title on your cars," Karen Tumlin, managing attorney for the National Immigration Law Center, said.

Republican Pennsylvania state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, founder of State Legislators for Legal Immigration, said Alabama-style legislation is on his "wish list" for the upcoming session.

"That's a very good way to expand the fight to shut down access to revenue that they get," he said.

North Carolina state Rep. Harry Warren said he is looking at Alabama's laws as he puts together a package for his state's 2012 legislative session.

"The only thing you can do in your state is make it less attractive [for illegal immigrants] to come to, a little harder to live here legally," Warren said.

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