Bill would penalize illegal immigrants who accept pay in Tenn.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A proposal to make it a crime for illegal immigrants to accept pay for work done in Tennessee is headed for floor votes in both chambers of the General Assembly.

The Senate Commerce Committee voted unanimously Tuesday to advance the proposal to make it a misdemeanor for illegal immigrants to accept pay.

The measure sponsored by Sen. Joe Haynes, a Goodlettsville Democrat, could lead to fines of $500, up to six months in jail and require illegal immigrants to forfeit any earnings they receive.

Haynes says the Legislature is prevented from enacting tougher penalties against employers who hire illegal immigrants because the state must defer to federal laws on the matter.

But federal laws do not pre-empt increased penalties against workers.

The companion bill is also awaiting a House floor vote.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)