Immigration Enforcement

Missouri Governor Signs Tough New Immigration Law

On July 6th, Missouri Governor Matt Blunt signed into law legislation designed to crack down on illegal immigration. State lawmakers passed the bill on the final day of their annual session under a threat from Blunt that he would call a special session if no bills were passed. (Associated Press, July 7, 2008) The bill passed by wide majorities, with only legislators from the metropolitan areas of Kansas City and St. Louis voting against the bill. (Id.)

Missouri’s new law takes significant steps to combat illegal immigration. The law:

  • Bars the state from issuing driver’s licenses to illegal aliens;
  • Imposes criminal penalties for those convicted of assisting illegal aliens in obtaining driver’s licenses;
  • Prohibits the creation of sanctuary cities by stripping state funding and grants from any municipality that attempts to enact sanctuary policies;
  • Requires public employers, including state contractors to verify the work authorization of all employees through E-Verify;
  • Allows the state to cancel contracts with contractors that hire illegal aliens;
  • Requires government agencies to verify the legal status of applicants before providing public benefits;
  • Imposes criminal penalties on individuals convicted of transporting illegal immigrants for exploitive purposes;
  • Requires law enforcement to verify the legal immigration status of every individual presented for incarceration and to release to the Department of Homeland Security all individuals who are determined to be in the U.S. unlawfully;
  • Provides penalties for employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens, including suspension of business licenses.

(Missouri House Bill Nos. 1549, 1771, 1395 & 2366)

Initially, legislators sought to include a provision requiring all Missouri employers to use E-Verify. The business community, however, opposed the provision citing alleged database errors and accusing lawmakers of trying to force immigration enforcement on the state’s employers. (Forbes, July 7, 2008)

During a signing ceremony on July 7th, Governor Blunt commented, “This significant legislation will protect the safety of Missouri families and the security of our jobs from the threat of illegal immigration, and I am pleased that Missouri’s legislators responded to my call for action where Washington has failed to act.” (The Joplin Globe, July 7 2008)

To see the text of the Missouri legislation click here; a summary is available here.



July 15, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,

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