Local police officers would have the power to arrest and effectively deport people living in Arizona illegally under a bill passed by the Legislature on Tuesday and sent to Gov. Janet Napolitano.
Currently, such powers are restricted to federal agents. Senate Bill 1306, approved by the Senate by a vote of 16-11, is based on the belief that the state has too few federal agents to deal with an increase in the population of undocumented immigrants.
Opponents have said the police officers do not want the added authority and that the deportation of undocumented workers is a federal issue.
The Senate also agreed Tuesday to let voters decide whether to deny bail to undocumented immigrants who commit a serious crime. If it gets final approval in the House, House Concurrent Resolution 2028 would go on the November 2006 ballot.