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But stepped-up enforcement has spawned a backlash, both among Hispanic rights groups and some lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

Last week, Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, both Democrats, introduced a bill to curb what they said are abuses by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The bill would require ICE to notify welfare agencies before conducting a workplace raid and would set new standards for treatment of those caught in raids.