A bill empowering police to arrest illegal immigrants and charge them with trespassing for simply being in the state of Arizona, is likely just weeks away from becoming the toughest law of its kind anywhere in the country.
Already passed by the state's Senate and currently being reconciled with a similar version in the House, the bill would essentially criminalize the presence of the 460,000 illegal immigrants living in the state.
The measure allows police to detain people on the suspicion that they are illegal immigrants, outlaws citizens from employing day laborers, and makes it illegal for anyone to transport an illegal immigrant, even a family member, anywhere in the state.
This weekend Republican U.S. Senator John McCain will campaign in Arizona with his former vice presidential running mate Sarah Palin.
McCain is in the midst of one of the toughest primary campaigns of a lengthy career in politics. McCain, who once back a bipartisan effort to grant illegal immigrants amnesty, has deflected questions about whether he supports the legislation.
"It's a state issue," McCain spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan told ABC News via e-mail. Contender J.D. Hayworth, a former Republican congressman, however, has come out to actively support the bill and used McCain's ambiguity to attack him.
"Sen. Russell Pearce of the Arizona State Senate has worked very hard to combat illegal immigration and I think his Senate bill 1070 is a good bill," Hayworth told ABC News.
"Simply stated, we need to give law enforcement officers the tools to do their jobs. Border security is national security and it's time to take handcuffs off law enforcement and put them on criminals who break our laws."