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Senate Committee Approves Immigration Bill (Mar 22, 2011)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A Senate committee has approved an anti-illegal immigration bill patterned after a controversial new Arizona law that gives local police more power to arrest illegal immigrants and seize property used to commit immigration-related crimes.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday voted 6-3 for the bill along party lines, with all three Democrats on the committee voting against the measure.

Senate sponsor Sen. Ron Justice, R-Chickasha, described the bill as a "work in progress" and says he expects the language to be changed before it heads to the Senate floor for a final vote.

Sen. Ralph Shortey, R-Oklahoma City, a vocal critic of illegal immigration, says the current measure is "very weak" and doesn't provide stiff penalties for employers who hire illegal immigrants.

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