The Missouri law gives our state highway patrol the directive to check the residency status of anyone presented for incarceration. Officers received special training so they can continue to enforce illegal immigration laws, including courses to learn about the administration of deportation. At the same time, the law also calls for employers to use a computer program that checks the legal status of anyone seeking employment in our state, and it establishes penalties for employers who hire illegal aliens. If a company receives a tax credit, a check of the immigration status of the workers is required.
The Missouri law also prohibits municipalities from establishing sanctuary policies. It prohibits the issuance of driver's licenses to illegal aliens, as well as penalties for driver's license fraud. Illegal immigrants are prohibited from receiving state grants or scholarships and other taxpayer benefits. All of these measures were wildly successful from the beginning and continue to be successful today. According to Cpt. Tim Hull of the Missouri Highway Patrol, as of April 24, 2010, the state started the deportation process 540 times.
I think the Arizona law sprang from the same frustrations felt by many Missourians. The federal government has ignored their responsibility to enforce our federal immigration laws. States like Missouri and Arizona have been more than patient in waiting for immigration reform and enforcement, and now our state and Arizona are doing what we can to stem the flow of crime that surrounds illegal immigration.
While we've had great success with these policies, these deportations are only a drop in the bucket compared to the magnitude of illegal immigrants thought to be in our state and country. My kudos to Arizona for taking the same strong stance Missouri has on illegal immigration, because it has renewed the demand for immigration reform throughout our country.
Until our federal government protects our borders and finds a solution to this growing problem, we will continue to protect our state's citizens and their interests.
NEW AUDIO CLIPS POSTED
New audio clips have been added to my multimedia page, located on my Missouri Senate website. This page features audio and video links (both streaming and broadcast quality — when available) for you to listen to and watch on issues I have addressed that are important to me and the citizens of the 2nd Senatorial District.
The new audio clips on my multimedia page feature me discussing the fiscal year 2011 Missouri budget, which the Senate passed yesterday (4/29) and sent to the Governor. This was done more than a week ahead of the Constitutional deadline of May 7 – a first in our state's recent history.
To view my multimedia page, visit http://www.senate.mo.gov/multimedia/Rupp/RuppMultimedia.html.
NEW QUESTION OF THE WEEK ON WEBSITE
A new question this week is posted on my website which asks:
With all the attention being paid to illegal immigration reform due to new laws passed by Arizona, do you feel the legislation that I passed in 2008 is sufficient or should we go even further? My bill passed in 2008 (HB1549), and includes the following provisions:
- Prohibits municipalities from establishing Sanctuary Policies
- Prohibits Illegal Immigrants from receiving public benefits, including state scholarships and grants
- Authorizes members of the MO Highway Patrol to get the official training necessary for them to enforce immigration law in Missouri
- Requires state law enforcement officials to verify the status of individuals taken into custody if a citizenship status determination cannot be made, and denies bail to individuals who cannot prove lawful presence, and since 2007, the Missouri Highway Patrol has detained over 520 people under this vital program
- Prohibits issuance of driver's licenses to illegal immigrants and creates penalties for driver's license fraud
- Prohibits Missouri employers from hiring illegal aliens and enacts tough penalties including suspension of business licenses, termination of contracts and barring entities from doing business with the state
- Private employers who are found to have hired illegal immigrants face penalties and they are mandated to use E-Verify for any future hiring
- Mandates that all public employers and any company using state tax credits, or companies that have a contract or grant with the state in excess of $5000 use the E-Verify system to check the status of its employees
- Missouri's 2008 Immigration Reform Laws are sufficient
- Missouri should do more to combat illegal immigration
Please go to my web page at: http://www.senate.mo.gov/10info/members/mem02.htm and click on "Question of the Week" in the upper right hand corner to respond to the survey.
PREVIOUS QUESTION RESULTS
The previous question was:
SJR 25 - Missouri Health Care Freedom Act
In response to the recent federal health care legislation passed by Congress, the Missouri Senate is considering SJR 25 – the Missouri Health Care Freedom Act, a constitutional amendment that would state that no federal law shall compel an individual or employer to participate in any government or privately run health care system. Do you support or oppose this constitutional amendment that would allow each individual Missourian to choose for themselves the type of health care plan they want to participate in?
83% support SJR 25
17% opposed SJR 25
Thanks to all who responded to the question.
As the 2010 legislative session unfolds, I will continue to keep you, my constituents, apprised of all major developments, and I look forward to continuing to serve your needs and priorities in Jefferson City. As always, if you have any questions about this week's column or any other matter involving state government, please do not hesitate to contact me. You can reach my office by phone at (866) 271-2844.