The state Senate Republicans' immigration bill would cost Kentucky a net $40 million a year in court, prison and foster-care costs, according to a fiscal-impact statement issued Thursday by legislative staff.
Senate Bill 6 would make it a state crime for an illegal immigrant to set foot in Kentucky, and it would authorize police to approach people and ask about their immigration status. The Senate voted 24-14 last week to pass the bill without knowing its cost.
"It does look like serious money," Sen. John Schickel, the bill's sponsor, said Thursday.
"But these are estimates, and quite frankly, I don't agree with these estimates," said Schickel, R-Union. "For one thing, this assumes that law enforcement is going to enforce it to the maximum everywhere, and the bill leaves it open to each jurisdiction's individual discretion."
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Also, Schickel said, as Kentucky gets a reputation for being less friendly to illegal immigrants, fewer of them will come here, and the full costs of the bill won't need to be repeated every year.
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