Reporting Dave Marsett
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (STMW) – Illegal immigrants in Illinois could face deportation and heightened police scrutiny in the fashion of the notorious Arizona immigration law if a northwest suburban lawmaker has his way.
Rep. Randy Ramey, Jr. (R-Carol Stream) has introduced legislation that patterns itself after the Arizona law signed last April that drew a legal challenge from the Obama Administration.
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As in Arizona, Ramey’s bill would allow police to determine the immigration status of a person if the official reasonably suspects that the person is in the state illegally. It could also put the illegal immigrant on the deportation track.
The bill, Ramey said, is an alternative solution to Illinois’ financial woes that does not put costs back onto taxpayers, unlike the 67-percent income tax increase.
“We are in such bad shape that if you don’t look at all aspects of the budget, and if you don’t try to address these issues, then you are failing the people of this state,” he said.
But critics of the bill, primarily pro-immigration groups, label Ramey as an extremist who is out of touch with the political climate in Illinois.
Ramey, however, estimates that illegal immigrants cost the state $4.6 billion as they eat up education and health care services. Targeting that money could aid Illinois in its economic rebound.
“What do they consider extreme? That I think I want people to control their own money? That I want less government? Is that extreme?” Ramey said. “I don’t think so.”
Joshua Hoyt, executive director for the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, said Ramey is inflating those numbers because illegal immigrants also pay income, sales and property taxes.
Hoyt said Ramey is a marginal character within the Illinois Republican Party and the party leadership, including state Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) and U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), did not embrace the type of immigration views Ramey is promoting while on the campaign trail last year.
“This bill would allow bad cops to hunt Mexican-Americans across the state based on the color of their skin,” Hoyt said.
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