The Missouri Senate has passed legislation to increase penalties for some immigrants who enter the country illegally and commit crimes.

Senators voted 26-6 Thursday to send the bill to the House.

The measure would apply to immigrants who have previously been deported for a violent or dangerous crime and later commit another crime in Missouri or elsewhere.

Those immigrants could be punished for "illegal re-entry" to Missouri under the legislation.

Republican sponsor Sen. Mike Cunningham has said immigrants who commit those crimes are the "scum of the Earth."

The legislation comes as Mexican national Pablo Serrano-Vitorino is awaiting a preliminary hearing. He's accused of killing a man in Missouri and four others in Kansas.

Republican Sen. Bob Dixon says he doesn't believe creating a new crime is necessary.