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Conn. Legislature Hears Opposing Immigration Bills

The Connecticut State Capitol Building in Hartford
Sage Ross
The Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford.

Members of the Connecticut General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee heard testimony on two immigration bills on Monday, one on each side of the issue. The first bill would make it more difficult for state and local officials to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law. The other would ensure that local and state officials cooperate fully in the enforcement of federal immigration law.

Proponents of the first bill include House Judiciary Chair William Tong, a Stamford Democrat whose parents had been undocumented for many years. Tong says the bill is necessary to ensure public safety and the promotion of welcoming communities in Connecticut for immigrants. Tong says the point is not to let bad people go free.

“We are talking about people who may need the services of police, or a hospital, or need to go into a public building and they should not be chilled or deterred from doing so. If someone is a victim of domestic violence, they should not be afraid to go to the police station.”   

The Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance, which is also supporting the bill, says 321 people who appeared in state courts for unrelated matters last year were brought up on immigration charges by federal agents.

Republican proponents of the other bill say federal immigration laws are the law of the land and should be enforced by all law enforcement agencies – local, state and federal.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.