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Ariz. Senate rejects illegal immigration bills

"Maybe you forgot it's illegal to be in this country illegally," he said during the vote on his bill. "We just ask them to report the crime, not be the judge and executioner."

Also defeated was a bill to require schools to file reports on enrollments of illegal immigrant students.

The fifth bill was a sweeping measure sponsored by Pearce. It would have made it a crime for illegal immigrants to drive in Arizona. It also had provisions on registering vehicles, workplace hiring and various public benefits.

It would ban illegal immigrants from attending Arizona's public universities and community colleges. The state does not now have a ban but it does require illegal immigrants to pay higher, non-resident tuition rates.

Pearce's bill also would have required eviction of public housing tenants who let illegal immigrants live with them and make applicants for vehicle titles and registration prove they are in the country legally.

Pearce and other supporters said cracking down on illegal immigration would provide relief to taxpayers by cutting costs for education, health care and other services.

Earlier Thursday, Gov. Jan Brewer said she didn't have positions on the bills and she declined to wave off legislators from taking up the issue of illegal immigration again.

"I believe that illegal immigration is an important subject to the populace in Arizona and is something that probably needs to be further addressed," said Brewer, a Republican who signed SB1070 into law.

Dozens of CEOs of major employers and business groups signed a letter distributed Wednesday by the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, saying that passage of additional legislation on illegal immigration would damage the economy and tourism.

Arizona should instead push for federal action on immigration and border issues, according to the letter signed by heads of construction companies, hospitals, real estate developers and US Airways.

"Arizona's lawmakers and citizens are right to be concerned about illegal immigration," the letter said. "But we must acknowledge that when Arizona goes it alone on this issue, unintended consequences inevitably occur."


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© 2011 The Associated Press