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Senate OKs watered down illegal immigration bill

Senate OKs watered down illegal immigration bill

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Some businesses would have to confirm the immigration status of employees under a bill passed by the Utah Senate but would no longer face criminal penalties if they didn't.

An original version of the measure included the penalties but bill sponsor Sen. Chris Buttars removed it, saying businesses had complained.

Lawmakers voted 24-4 to pass Senate Bill 251 on Friday, sending it to the House.

It bars a private employer with 15 or more workers from hiring new employees after July 1 without verifying their immigration status.

Several states require businesses to use the federal E-Verify program, and about 184,000 of the nation's 7 million to 8 million employers use it.

It's a Web based system that checks a worker's information against federal databases to determine U.S. employment eligibility.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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