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Anti-Illegal Immigration Ballot Initiative Cleared To Gather Signatures

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A proposed ballot initiative that would strengthen enforcement and tighten laws against undocumented immigrants has been cleared to begin gathering signatures from California residents for the November 2012 election.

The proposal, filed by a group called the Taxpayer Revolution Committee, lays down a number of specific rules California agencies would be obliged to follow, including forbidding undocumented immigrants from obtaining driver's licenses and identifying the California counties hardest hit by "alien transnational gangs."

The measure would also require law enforcement to "immediately verify with the United States Department of Homeland Security whether an immigration detail is to be issued" in the event a suspected undocumented immigrant is arrested.

The California Secretary of State's office announced Wednesday that the bill's sponsors will have until May 25, 2012 to collect 504,760 signatures from California voters. The measure requires $35 million annually in new funding to combat transnational gangs, and the Legislative Analyst's Office says increased law enforcement costs at a local level could require millions in additional funding each year.

Illegal immigration has become a controversial political issue in California in recent months, fueled in part by the California Dream Act, which granted illegal immigrants access to state financial aid for public universities and was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in October.

Arizona lawmakers weathered a political firestorm in 2010 after passing their own anti-illegal immigration measure, but legal challenges have halted the most controversial parts of the law from taking effect.

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