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Bill lets southern Arizona tribe determine membership

TUCSON, Ariz. -- A southern Arizona tribe can determine its own membership under a bill approved in the U.S. Senate this week.

The measure that replaces a congressional mandate that enrollment in the Pascua Yaqui Tribe be based on application deadlines and other requirements already had passed the House.

Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva said President Barack Obama is expected to sign it.

Tribal chairman Peter Yucupicio said it had been a goal of his since he was a child for enrollment be determined by the tribe. According to the bill, members shall be any United States citizen of Pascua Yaqui blood who is enrolled by the tribe.

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that tribal membership would increase by about 800 people under the federal legislation. The tribe has about 18,000 members.

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