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Bill Denying State Benefits to Illegals on its Way to the Governor

March 22nd, 2007 by Halli

After impassioned debate, Senate Bill 1157 has just passed the House by a large margin, and is on its way to the Governor for his signature. SB 1157 previously passed the Senate on a 29-6 vote.

Senate Bill 1157 has as part of its stated purpose “to require the verification of lawful presence in the United States of natural persons in order to receive public benefits”. When (or if) it is signed into law by Otter, the law will send what is hoped is a very strong message about lack of federal control of illegal alien entry to the state and the nation.

Brave individuals such as former Canyon County Commissioner and candidate for Congress Robert Vasquez have long held that illegal aliens cost the Idaho taxpayer millions of dollars for their criminal acts, incarceration and health care. Vasquez went so far as to bring suit against employers of illegals in his county, and proposed suing the Mexican government for several million dollars to reimburse Canyon County for their expenses.

While I do not agree with all of Mr. Vasquez’s positions, it appears he hit the nail on the head with this issue. And with SB 1157 the Idaho Legislature is looking to cut losses from state coffers as well.

Debate in the House over SB 1157 was heartfelt, to say the least. On the opposing side was Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Eagle, an immigration attorney. He pointed out a number of individuals who, through technicalities and no fault of their own, were found to be illegal aliens. He also observed that there were no financial impacts attached to the bill as are usually accompanying legislation. Labrador said that in conversations with the bill’s sponsor, he could get no dollar estimate for savings to the state resulting from the bill’s passage.

Then of course, many Democrats played the sympathy card and also questioned whether the state would actually save money in the long run if larger problems were created by not treating mental and physical health concerns in a timely manner.

Ultimately, of course,the bill passed and is now on its way to the Governor. Only time will tell if savings result, whether fewer illegal aliens stay in or come to Idaho, or if the red tape required for verifying status is too burdensome. However, for now the message is clear: Obey the law or face the consequences.

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Posted in Idaho Legislature, Politics in General, Taxes | No Comments »

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