A state Assembly committee dominated by Democrats this morning killed two bills that sought to require public officials to report suspected illegal immigrants and prohibit employers from knowingly hiring the immigrants.
Freshman Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, an activist with the Minuteman movement, proposed an Arizona-style crackdown on illegal immigrants because he said the federal government is doing an inadequate job protecting the borders.
One of the bills killed by the Assembly Judiciary Committee bills, Assembly Bill 26, would have banned public officials and agencies from restricting the enforcement of immigration laws. It also would have prohibited employers from knowingly hiring an illegal immigrant and made it a crime to transport, harbor, shelter or conceal a person that you know is an illegal immigrant.
The measure was supported by a long line of witnesses, including tea party representatives, other anti-illegal immigration activists and victims of crimes committed by illegal immigrants.
Republicans on the panel said illegal immigrants were responsible for an increasing number of crimes. "We have had to tolerate murders, assaults, rapes and every other kind of illegal activity (known to) mankind," said Assemblyman Brian Jones, R-Santee.
It was opposed by Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley, Attorney General Kamala Harris, public defenders, the ACLU and immigrant rights groups.
Majority Democrats refused to support the bill, noting that the Arizona law is being challenged in court.
"I think the bill is unconstitutional," said Assemblyman Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles and chair of the committee. "I think the bill is needlessly divisive at a time in our state when we need to be looking at each other as a source of strength to weather the worst economic recession we've confronted in a long time."
On a party line vote, the panel also killed Assembly Bill 1018, which would require state and local officials to verify the immigration status of any person who requests any public service. It was opposed by immigrant rights groups and labor unions.