Immigration Debate: Number of City, State Bills Relating to Immigration Increase

Tennessee: Cracking Down on Jailers

Tennessee is the latest state attempting to beef up immigration enforcement. In late June, Gov. Phil Bredesen signed into law a bill requiring jailers to check the immigration status of all foreign-born inmates.

The state's Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission would be required "to develop a standardized written procedure for verifying citizenship status of persons arrested, booked, or confined in a county or municipal jail or detention facility," and report them to federal authorities if they are undocumented.

The state will write new rules and expand the use of a federal electronic fingerprinting system called Secure Communities, which authorities say will give jailers a direct link to federal immigration authorities.

Nashville and Memphis will be exempt from the new rules because they already have agreements with immigration officials.

Critics say the law will only bolster racial profiling and it unfairly targets those who are foreign-born. The Tennessee Sheriffs' Association objected to the law on the grounds that it would increase unnecessary paperwork and delays.

Tennessee has a relatively small minority compared to other states. More than 79 percent of its population is white, with Asians and Hispanics comprising less than 7 percent of the total population.

The law is set to take effect on Jan. 1.

Oklahoma: DNA Testing for Illegal Immigrants

Well before Arizona garnered the national spotlight, Oklahoma took center stage in the immigration debate. In 2007, state legislators passed a bill making it harder for undocumented citizens to get government issued IDs and access to public services. It also gave the police authority to check the status of people they considered to be illegal citizens and made it illegal for anyone to hire or house undocumented residents, creating a firestorm of criticism and lawsuits which ultimately voided some sections of the law.

Since then, Oklahoma has flirted with several anti-immigration bills that have been met with varied reaction.

Last year, the state's Senate and House passed a bill requiring all illegal immigrants to undergo DNA testing, regardless of what crime they were arrested for. The data gathered would be added to a DNA database to be checked against evidence from other crimes.

Supporters of the measure said the law was necessary to ensure that illegal immigrants could be checked against other crimes before being sent back to their country of origin.

State lawmakers have also discussed other immigration bills that would confiscate cars driven by undocumented citizens and deny citizenship to children of illegal immigrants.

Critics, such as the ACLU, have denounced such measures as "un-American."

Cities Toughen Illegal Immigrant Renting Laws

Fremont follows in the footsteps of several cities that have enacted laws making it tougher for illegal immigrants to rent in a city's vicinity.

The city of Valley Park, Mo., passed an ordinance in 2006 enforcing strict penalties on landlords who rented to undocumented citizens. The ordinance, embroiled in litigation for years, was upheld by the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. However, it wasn't enforced because of a bill passed by the state legislature overruling the ordinance.

Similar measures passed in Farmers Branch, Texas, and Hazleton, Pa., have been bogged down in costly legal battles for years.

In 2006, the small Texas town became the first in the state to pass such a measure, but it has been put on hold because of court cases.

ABC News' Julie Percha and Alexander Pepper contributed to this report.

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