A state lawmaker says a proposal mandating that anyone applying for public assistance programs in Wisconsin prove they are a legal citizen is not needed. The Republican bill would require those applying for public assistance programs to provide documentation proving they are a U.S. citizen.

Democratic State Representative JoCasta Zamarripa (D-Milwaukee) says the legislation is simply an attempt to use immigration and immigration reform as a political tool. Under current laws, she says undocumented immigrants cannot access public assistance programs and there’s no evidence that is happening.

Zamarripa says the bill will just make it harder for those who can enroll in those programs to apply, and also makes it tougher for social workers to do their jobs. The bill requires social workers to verify documents proving citizenship, which the Milwaukee Democrats says will add another layer of bureaucracy to the process.

Zamarripa says it’s also unfair to fine social workers $250 if they fail to collect the right documentation, which she argues would most likely be an unintentional mistake on their part.

Zamarripa serves on the committee where the bill will likely receive a public hearing.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (:56)

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