A bill similar to Arizona's immigration-enforcement law cleared its first hurdle in Kentucky passing through the state senate after a vote late last week. The measure passed by a 24-14 margin and would allow police to check the immigration status of individuals they stop.
"Does Kentucky want to be a sanctuary for illegals?" said State Sen. Tom Jensen. "What this bill really does is it sends a message ... that we do not tolerate people coming into this country illegally. They should come into this country legally. My grandparents did."
Sen. John Schickel is the bill's main sponsor.
The bill now moves to the House where it's likely to face more resistance. Last year, the House did pass a bill that would have required all state agencies to use E-Verify to check the status of all new hires, but under Democratic control, it might be tougher to garner votes. Only one Democrat voted for the bill in the state senate.
Current State House Speaker Greg Stumbo favors the E-Verify approach, and he's willing to extend a state mandate to all employers, private and public, in Kentucky. He believes that if illegal aliens can't get jobs in Kentucky, then they'll leave Kentucky.