Missouri Schools Would Be Required to Verify Immigration Status of Students Under New Proposal

Judy Hartnett's picture
Thursday, January 12, 2012

Missouri could be the next battleground in a nationwide fight over tougher immigration laws.

State Sen. Will Kraus, a Lee’s Summit Republican, is sponsoring a bill that would mandate that all public schools verify the immigration status of enrollees. It also would require law enforcement officers to check immigration status on all stops when they have reasonable cause, and create a state misdemeanor for not carrying proper citizenship documentation.

The U.S. Department of Justice last year sued to block similar laws after they were passed in Alabama and Arizona. Federal judges have blocked implementation of parts of the laws in both states, with the U.S. Supreme Court agreeing to hear arguments on Arizona’s law sometime this year.

Vanessa Crawford, executive director of Missouri Immigration and Refugee Advocates, said Kraus’ bill unfairly focuses on immigrants and their families and opens the state up to future litigation.

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