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Immigrants becoming political presence at state Capitol

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - National division over the immigration issue appears to be fueling an unusually sensitive atmosphere at the Connecticut state Capitol.

Immigrants and supporters packed a legislative hearing last week, outraged over legislation that would end "drive-only" licenses for people who can't prove they're living in the U.S. legally. They voiced strong concerns, despite assurances the bill likely won't make it out of committee.

Carolina Bortelleto of Danbury, co-founder of Connecticut Students for a Dream, says the "anti-immigrant rhetoric" on the national level has motivated immigrants to "come out of the shadows."

Wolcott Republican Rep. Rob Sampson has opposed drive-only licenses since 2013 for public safety reasons and filed this year's bill before President Donald Trump took office. He says he feels badly that immigrants think he's "some horrible guy who is after them."

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