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Strict Bill Draws Bipartisan Support

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A new bill in Congress takes an enforcement-only approach to illegal immigration. The legislation has the backing of at least three representatives in the Chicago area.

It’s called the Secure America with Verification and Enforcement (SAVE) Act. The bill would increase the number of detention facilities, intensify border patrols and aerial surveillance, and require employers to check the immigration status of prospective workers.

Since its introduction 15 days ago, it has picked up 116 cosponsors. They include Peter Roskam, a Republican who represents suburbs northwest of Chicago. He says this bill differs from a proposed immigration-reform package that stalled this summer.

ROSKAM: It was an amnesty program that the public overwhelming rejected. And meanwhile we continue to have a problem in that our borders are not secure.

The Chicago-area cosponsors include two Democrats: Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Melissa Bean of Illinois.

Critics say many of the bill’s supporters simply want to appear tough on undocumented immigrants before next year’s election.

I’m Chip Mitchell, Chicago Public Radio.

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