11:47am

Thu February 9, 2012
Bill Resembled Controversial Alabama Law

Refuge Coalition Claims Defeat of Legislation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The sponsor of a bill that would make it a felony to harbor or transport an illegal immigrant has withdrawn the measure from consideration.

The bill had been scheduled for a vote in the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday.

Immigrants' rights activists claimed victory for the change. A Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition spokesman says members and supporters asked their legislators to oppose the measure.

"We need to start thinking about jobs for our economy, you know, and not about a bill that would turn every person in Tennessee into an immigration agent. We're glad the bill kind'a got stopped in its tracks and that basically happened due to broad opposition from the public."

Bill sponsor Rep. Tony Shipley says the coalition’s actions had nothing to do with his decision.

The Kingsport Republican says his main concern was to prevent human trafficking, and other bills introduced this session already address that issue.

Shipley's bill mirrors portions of a controversial Alabama law that is the subject of several lawsuits.