A crime to go to class? Proposed AZ law bars undocumented immigrants from using public resources
By Maggie Vespa. CREATED Feb 7, 2014
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Imagine a world where a kid could be charged with a crime, just for going to class.
One Arizona lawmaker says it may be part of the solution to tackle America's immigration mess.
His critics are calling it the new 'Show Me Your Papers' law.
Whether they're cruising down a highway or catching a class, it would make for a serious crackdown on undocumented immigrants.
"I think that we deserve to put some teeth in there, so that law enforcement can hold people who have come here illegally and committed a crime... we need more teeth to hold them accountable," said the bill's sponsor State Representative Carl Seel (R-Phoenix).
House Bill 2129 reads if a person is "...not lawfully present in this state..." and goes to school, drives on roads, accepts public benefits or uses public services of any kind, they are committing a crime.
"It's repugnant in every aspect," said immigration attorney Margot Cowan.
Cowan says the law ranks up there with Arizona's controversial SB 1070, a decision she and her clients, 'The Dreamers', fight every day.
"It's hurtful not only to Mexicanos, it's hurtful to our business community," said Cowan. "It's shameful. It really doesn't have any place."
Representative Seel told our sister station KNXV this law only applies to undocumented immigrants who have already committed a crime, allowing police to tack on additional charges.
The bill makes a first offense a misdemeanor. After that each one would be a felony.