|Gov. Blunt once again has taken aggressive steps to curb illegal immigration in Missouri. The governor, along with the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Missouri Department of Public Safety, today signed a Memorandum of Agreement in Washington, DC with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). It allows specially trained members of the Missouri State Highway Patrol to enforce immigration laws in conjunction with their day-to-day law enforcement activities.
Under Section 287g of the Immigration and Nationality Act, a Gateway Taskforce will crack down on illegal immigration, in particular, unscrupulous Missouri employers who actively engage in the illegal employment of undocumented workers. It will focus on harboring illegal immigrants, transporting illegal immigrants, forced labor, human trafficking, identity theft, document fraud, and bulk cash smuggling.
The Gateway Taskforce will include ICE agents and specially trained members of the Highway Patrol. Missouri Highway Patrol Troopers will work out of local ICE offices in Kansas City, Springfield and St. Louis. All 18 of the ICE-trained troopers will begin working one week per quarter in these ICE offices. The task force will utilize a co-located, integrated, collaborative approach to information sharing and operational efficiency that will better ensure the effective and efficient use of resources, expertise, and technologies.
Blunt recently signed a comprehensive immigration reform package which he considers one of the toughest new laws in the country to stem the tide of lawbreakers into his state.
The law prohibits sanctuary cities within Missouri, ensuring no city or county government turns a blind eye to illegal activity. The legislation prohibits the issuance of a Missouri driver license to an illegal immigrant, and creates new penalties for helping an illegal immigrant obtain a license by fraud. Additionally, the legislation the governor championed and secured makes transporting and concealing an illegal immigrant a felony punishable by up to one year in prison. It prohibits illegal immigrants from receiving welfare benefits provided by state or local government. It requires all public employers and all state contractors to use E-Verify, an easy-to-use electronic system to check the immigration status of new employees.
For information about two workshops in Southwest Missouri demystifying workforce immigration issues go here.