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Friday, July 02, 2004

Petitions filed for proposal to deny immigrant services

Petitions filed for proposal to deny immigrant services

Petitions filed for proposal to deny immigrant services
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Associated Press
Jul. 2, 2004 12:00 AM


An Arizona group filed signature petitions Thursday for a ballot measure that would deny some government services to illegal immigrants and punish state and local government employees with jail time if they fail to report undocumented workers.

The initiative also would require proof of U.S. citizenship to register to vote and identification to cast ballots at polling places.

"Governments on all levels - local, state, and federal - should hang their heads in shame to make the people of Arizona go through this ordeal because governments arrogantly refuse to do their duties," said Kathy McKee, chairman of the Protect Arizona Now campaign.

The campaign said it submitted 190,887 voter signatures to the Secretary of State's Office, which has until early August to verify whether the filing met the requirement for 122,612 valid signatures.

The measure would require proof of identification and eligibility for applicants for non-federally mandated social services such as welfare. It also would make it a misdemeanor for a state or local government employee to fail to report immigration violations by applicants for such services.

Opponents contend the restrictions on public benefits would apply to government services ranging from library cards to aid from law enforcement, but initiative supporters said they would apply only to welfare-related programs.

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