The following is a statement from Sen. Will Kraus, Republican state senator serving Eastern Jackson County, regarding current legislation, SB 473 and SB 590, in the General Assembly pertaining to illegal immigration in Missouri:
“During the 2011 legislative session, I introduced a bill that would require the Missouri Attorney General to sue the federal government for its lack of enforcement of immigration laws. One of the objections we encountered was that there was no known cost to the state. Based on those comments, I asked my office to reach out to state agencies to find out who actually tracked the cost of illegal immigration on Missouri taxpayers. The results were underwhelming as we found most agencies have no idea of the true cost to taxpayers.
This year, I introduced SB 473, which again asks the Attorney General to sue the federal government, and also asks the Missouri Auditor’s office to determine the cost to Missouri taxpayers so we can seek restitution from the federal government to recoup those costs.
As a companion bill, I introduced SB 590, which does three things: Asks our public schools and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to specifically determine the cost of illegal immigration on our public schools; mirrors federal law in creating a state misdemeanor for any non-citizen who does not have their documentation; and allows police to ask for immigration status on all stops, not just arrests. Each of these provisions is designed to better determine the number and impact of illegal immigrants in Missouri. None of these proposed items have any significant punitive provision above what is already in current federal law.
Immigration is ultimately a federal issue and the solution will be a federal solution. But until a solution is reached, the impact of the federal government’s lack of enforcement is being felt at the state level. As fiscal stewards of our residents’ tax dollars, we have a responsibility to determine that impact.”
Contact the 8th Senatorial District’s Capitol office with any questions or concerns at 573-751-1464, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.