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AUSTIN (AP) – The Texas House has voted to require contractors working for the state transportation department to increase efforts to refrain from employing people in the country illegally.

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Tuesday’s 83-59 vote mandates that contractors and sub-contractors use E-verify, a program which lets employers check employees’ legal status. The rule was included in a larger bill regulating the transportation department.

The House approved a similar amendment in March requiring energy firms to use E-verify as it voted on a lager Texas Railroad Commission bill, which oversees oil and natural gas sector.

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The Legislature already passed a separate, sweeping anti-“sanctuary cities” law requiring local police to help enforce federal immigration policy.

Outnumbered Democrats have opposed immigration crackdowns. But some have also argued that Texas is targeting immigrants while ignoring powerful industries employing them.

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