Last week, the Massachusetts State Senate passed an immigration enforcement amendment, 28-to-10, to an appropriation bill. The State House had previously passed a different version of the spending bill, so the enforcement amendment is at the mercy of a conference committee.
The amendment would require companies doing business with the state to verify their new hires through E-Verify, the employment verification tool administered by the Department of Homeland Security. The amendment also would deny illegal aliens access to in-state tuition rates and require proof of citizenship before receiving welfare services. It also places a stiff penalty -- up to 15 years in prison and $10,000 fine -- if an illegal alien is caught using a stolen identity when applying for a job with a state contractor.
"This sends a very strong message," Senate Republican leader Richard Tisei said. "You shouldn't be here illegally if you want to access benefits."
Just before the vote, Suffolk University and Boston television station WHDH released poll results revealing that 84% of Commonwealth residents supported citizenship verification before receiving public benefits.