Arizona House rejects immigration enforcement bill

Posted: Updated:

PHOENIX -- The Arizona House has defeated a bill to criminalize illegal immigrants' presence in the state.

Illegal immigration

Arizona House rejects immigration enforcement bill - The Arizona House has defeated a bill to criminalize illegal immigrants' presence in the state.

Related Illegal Immigration links:
Search Video:

The House voted 26-15 for the bill Wednesday morning but that was five votes short of the 31 needed for passage. The Senate approved the bill 16-11.

The bill would have made Arizona the only state to criminalize the presence of illegal immigrants through an expansion of its trespassing law.

Supporters say local police enforcing an expanded trespassing law would provide a second layer of enforcement to catch immigrants who slip past federal agents.

Opponents predicted it would lead to racial profiling for thousands of Latinos who are U.S. citizens.

Illegal immigrants account for an estimated 500,000 people in Arizona's 6.5 million population.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)