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UK govt introduces tough immigration bill

LONDON (AP) -- The British government has introduced legislation to block immigrants living in the country illegally from opening bank accounts, require landlords to check tenants' immigration status and make it harder for migrants to appeal deportation.

The bill has been slammed by lawyers and rights campaigners.

Immigration is a sensitive political issue in Britain given the country's unemployment rate and several drawn- out, high-profile deportation sagas. Home Secretary Theresa May and Prime Minister David Cameron want to reduce net migration from non-European countries from 176,000 last year to fewer than 100,000 before the next election in 2015.

Immigration Minister Mark Harper said Thursday the new bill will stop migrants using public services to which they are not entitled and reduce the factors which encourage people to come to the U.K.