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Mass. Bill Would Crack Down On Illegal Immigration

A bipartisan group of state lawmakers has unveiled a bill aimed at clamping down on illegal immigration in Massachusetts.

The bill is designed to toughen restrictions on illegal immigrants seeking state benefits or trying to find work. It would also stiffen penalties for operating a car without a license.

The bill was sparked in part by a traffic death in Milford linked to an illegal immigrant and news reports Monday that a native of Mexico previously deported on charges of drunken driving had been arrested Saturday by Boxborough police and charged again with drunken driving.

"What we are attempting to do here is recognize that the failure of the federal government to enforce immigration laws has an impact on our state and our local communities," said Rep. John Fernandes, of Milford.

The bill also seeks to strengthen the state's ties to a federal program that checks the immigration status of those arrested.

Immigration advocates say the state should pass comprehensive legislation instead of scapegoating immigrants.

With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom

This program aired on September 26, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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