Threat of lawsuits stops immigration bills

March 28, 2012 at 11:31 AM

WASHINGTON, March 28 (UPI) -- Republican state legislators say the threat of lawsuits by the U.S. Justice Department is one reason many states have put the brakes on immigration bills.

Virginia Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment, the lone Republican to vote against a state immigration law, told USA Today legislators are keeping an eye on what's been happening on the national level.

The sponsor of the Virginia bill, Republican Rich Anderson of the state House of Delegates, said he failed to pass a measure that simply let magistrates know the immigration status of people arrested for the purpose of setting bail.

In Mississippi lawmakers removed all provisions from an immigration bill that had been blocked by federal judges in other states.

Tennessee State Rep. Joe Carr, a Republican, said he is not optimistic about the prospect of passing his bill allowing police to check the immigration status of people stopped for routine traffic offenses.

"We think we're going to have a much more friendly atmosphere in the federal government in a few months," Carr said referring to the upcoming presidential election.

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