A Nebraska state senator on Thursday unveiled an initiative on illegal immigrants similar to a controversial law passed last year in Arizona.
State Sen. Charlie Janssen promised in May to present the initiative during this session, despite the enormous work that has the legislature to close a large deficit in the budget and reshape political boundaries of the district in the next 90 days.
“This bill aims to stem illegal immigration and protect the citizens of the state of Nebraska in several ways,” said Janssen. “It will protect taxpayers from having to pay for education, welfare and medical expenses of illegal immigrants.”
As Arizona law, the bill would require police officers, when they enforce other laws, also ask the immigration status of those they suspect are in the country without legal residency papers. It also would require those who are not U.S. citizens carry documents proving their legal status. Do not take the documents would be considered a misdemeanor.
The bill also criminalizes the fact harbor, conceal or transport an illegal immigrant. Such a violation would be considered a misdemeanor.
Critics say the bill encourages racial profiling.
A federal judge blocked sections of Arizona law in July, including provisions calling the police could check the immigration status of a person to enforce other laws, and require immigrants to prove that they are in the country so legal.
Janssen’s initiative differs from the Arizona law that allows police officers to indiscriminately stop immigrants suspected of being in the country illegally.
Nebraska’s initiative seeks to prevent racial profiling by saying that the suspected agent should not be based solely on a person’s race, skin color, religion, gender or national origin, said state Attorney General Jon Bruning.
Nebraska is one of 21 states seeking similar legislation approved this year, he added.