Feb 13,2008 00:00
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Rhode Island is considering making English the official language and penalizing business owners who hire illegal workers and landlords who rent to them.
The state, where many residents are the children or grandchildren of immigrants, has a troubled economy and a potential $550 million budget shortfall, The Boston Globe reports. Legislators and the governor see services for immigrants, including health care for their children, as a needless expense.
Advocates of a crackdown, like state Sen. Christopher Maselli, sponsor of a bill that would make hiring or renting to illegal immigrants a crime, say they are only opposed to those who break the law to get to the United States.
"We need to start taking care of the people who are residents of the state of Rhode Island, who rightfully belong here, who come here, pay taxes, and support all these programs," Maselli said. "They're sick and tired of having to support people who don't come here the right way."
Others do not see it that way. Enio Garcia, a salesman for Goya Foods, said the state is carrying out "a witch hunt."
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