The governor of Michigan, where an immigration bill is pending in the legislature, said that such a measure would be detrimental.

Speaking to the Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, Gov. Rick Snyder said that an immigration law such as the one passed last year in Arizona would "encourage a divisive atmosphere."

The governor, a Republican who was elected to his post in November, on several occasions has said the state, whose economy has been among the hardest-hit in the country, needs immigrants.

The bill introduced in the legislature would get police more involved in checking the immigration status of people they pull over.

Earlier this year, in a talk before a Muslim group, Snyder said Census 2010 data showed a steep decline in Michigan’s population, and therefore the state needed to attract immigrants.

At that talk, Snyder said the state’s diversity – it is home to the nation’s largest Arab and Muslim population and a growing community of Latinos – could attract more businesses to Michigan.

"We need to celebrate diversity; it's one of our strengths,” Snyder said, according to published reports. “One of the things I'm proud to say I'm already encouraging, that was in my state of the state message, is the idea of more immigration, particularly for advanced degree people."

Arizona's law was passed last year amid years of complaints that the federal government hadn't done enough to lessen the state's role as the nation's busiest illegal entry point. Its passage has sparked protests and lawsuits seeking to overturn the law and a debate about whether the law would lead to racial profiling.

Parts of Arizona’s law have been blocked as courts look at the constitutionality of aspects of the measure. The U.S. Department of Justice sued Arizona in federal court last year, saying that Arizona’s immigration law was improperly stepping into an area that is solely within the jurisdiction of the federal matter.

Many states have debated having their own immigration laws, but many measures that were introduced in legislatures around the country have been tabled or defeated.

In South Carolina, however, an immigration bill passed last week in both chambers of the state legislature, and now differences between the two versions must be worked out.

And on Friday, the Texas Senate revived a bill that would allow police to question people they detain about their citizenship status.

The so-called "sanctuary cities" bill would prohibit local governments and police agencies from adopting polices to ban their officers from asking detained people about their immigration status.

The bill was the subject of angry debate before it passed the House.

The Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee had slowed down the bill earlier this week, but revived it Friday. The 5-3 vote broke along party lines with Republicans supporting the bill.

Some Senate Hispanic lawmakers have said they worry the bill would allow police to target Latinos and they consider it racially motivated.

This story contains material from The Associated Press.

Follow Elizabeth Llorente on Twitter: @LlorenteLatino


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