A tea party member promoted an anti-illegal immigration bill Monday that is loosely modeled after one that drew attention to Arizona last year.
The bill by Republican state Assemblyman Tim Donnelly of San Bernardino County would go after so-called sanctuary cities and employers who hire illegal immigrants. The Assembly Judiciary Committee was expected to consider the bill Tuesday.
It has little chance of surviving the Democratic-controlled Legislature.
AB26 does not include language similar to the most high-profile provision of the Arizona law, which directed law enforcement officers to check the citizenship status of anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally. Critics said that provision encourages racial profiling.
The sponsor of the Arizona bill, state Senate President Russell Pearce, said at a rally Monday with Donnelly that his proposal was not divisive and merely enforces the law.
“Controversial with who? Those who support the law versus those who don’t?” said Pearce, a Republican.
Donnelly, a state Minuteman founder who has been shown on TV constructing a border fence, said he is not anti-immigrant.
“One of the things I’ve always been in favor of is more legal immigration,” he said, adding that his wife descended from immigrants.
The lawmaker said the influx of immigrants should compel the United States to help Mexico tackle structural problems that encourage its citizens to migrate north.
His bill also would increase punishment of sex and drug traffickers and other smugglers. It calls for penalties to discourage day laborers who are in the country illegally and requires citizenship verification for anyone applying for public benefits.
The rally outside the Capitol brought a little more than 100 supporters, some from Southern California and members of the tea party.
It also featured Los Angeles resident Jamiel Shaw, who said he backs the legislation after a criminal who was in the country illegally shot his son to death three years ago.
“Here we are giving you the American dream,” Shaw, 50, said of illegal immigrants, “and you’re giving us an American nightmare.”