Lawmaker defers controversial immigration bill
BATON ROUGE - A Republican lawmaker has withdrawn his sweeping immigration enforcement proposal from debate this session.
After hearing testimony Wednesday against the bill from law enforcement and immigrant rights advocates, Rep. Joe Harrison, of Napoleonville, deferred his proposal.
The measure would have required providers of public benefits - such as college scholarships or social services - to verify citizenship. It also would have required police to verify the citizenship of any arrested person before release.
At the request of the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops, Harrison removed a provision to criminalize the transportation of illegal immigrants, which might have affected charity work. But the conference still opposed the bill, saying the church prefers comprehensive federal reform over enforcement-only state policies.