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A freshman San Bernardino County assemblyman kept a campaign promise on his first day in office today by introducing legislation that calls for an Arizona-style crackdown on illegal immigration.

"I'm excited about the legislation," said Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, a Twin Peaks Republican. "I think it's going to help us get the problem of illegal immigration under control in California."

Donnelly's bill would, among other things:

• Ban public officials and agencies from restricting the enforcement of immigration laws or the sharing of a person's immigration status.

• Make it a misdemeanor to be present on public or private land while in violation of federal immigration laws. The crime would escalate to a felony if the suspect is in possession of dangerous drugs or lethal weapons.

• Prohibit employers from knowingly or intentionally employing an illegal immigrant.

• Require employers to verify the employment eligibility of employees through a federal program, called E-Verify.

• Make it a misdemeanor to transport, harbor, shelter or conceal a person that you know is an illegal immigrant.

• Make it a misdemeanor to encourage or induce someone to enter the state illegally.

Donnelly said his goal is to ensure compliance with immigration laws without encouraging frivolous complaints or overregulation of businesses.

"We don't want to add another requirement of bureaucracy and regulatory requirements to employers who already are being killed by all these stupid regulations here in California," he said.

Donnelly, founder of a Minuteman chapter, said the federal government has "completely abdicated" its responsibility to enforce borders and that states should "step up and exercise our sovereign rights."

The legislation could face tough sledding, however, in a Democrat-dominated Legislature that historically has been sympathetic to immigrant rights, regardless of legal status.

A public hearing on the bill will not be scheduled until lawmakers reconvene Jan. 3.


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