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Lawmakers seek tougher penalties for undocumented criminals

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Two Republican lawmakers filed bills Tuesday that would lead to increased penalties for undocumented immigrants who commit types of violent crimes.

Sen. Travis Hutson, R-Elkton, and Rep. Dane Eagle, R-Cape Coral, filed the similar bills (SB 120 and HB 83) for the 2017 legislative session, which starts in March.

The bills address crimes such as assault, aggravated assault and battery.

Under the proposals, for example, a crime that ordinarily would be considered a first-degree misdemeanor would become a third-degree felony if it is committed by an undocumented immigrant.

As another example, a third-degree felony would be reclassified as a second-degree felony.