by Missouri Rep. Ed Emery (R-126 including the counties of
Barton, Dade, Jasper and Polk)
"While politicians in Washington have debated amnesty bills, over half a million illegal aliens come into our country every year and in a post-9-11 world this is unacceptable. So while the federal government has done nothing, we decided to take action on the state level." --Rep. Bob Onder, sponsor of Missouri House Bill 1549
"Illegal immigration" is somewhat of an oxymoron since immigration implies lawful migration into another country. What millions of foreign individuals have done is more accurately labeled "illegal entry." Every citizen and legal resident should be concerned, and HB 1549 is a significant step toward contending with this marked devaluation of American citizenship. Governor Blunt signed the bill into law on July 7, 2008. Its provisions will take effect in August 2008.
Two competing perspectives frame the battle over immigration issues and HB 1549. One group seems to consider national identity and citizenship to be of little value or significance. The rest of us see national identity as a concrete reflection of differing world views and a demonstration of their success or failure. The other perspective can only survive by denying or ignoring both history and fundamentals of cause and effect.
Here is a summary of the elements of HB 1549:
- Prohibits illegal aliens from receiving welfare benefits or driver's licenses
- Makes it a felony to hide or transport an illegal alien
- Requires public employers and contractors to use a federal database to verify the immigration status of people they employ
- Bans the creation of sanctuary cities
- authorizes the Missouri State Highway Patrol to train and act in the enforcement of immigration laws
- Mandates that state law enforcement officers verify the citizenship status of everyone they arrest within 48 hours of that arrest.
In summary, this law does three things: 1) It gives law enforcement new tools to assist in enforcement of federal immigration law; 2) it protects Missouri taxpayers from funding illegal activity; and 3) it removes incentives to illegal entry into Missouri, things like jobs, welfare benefits, and driver's licenses.