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Nebraska’s Illegal Immigration News

Missouri: Lawmakers approve anti-illegal immigrant bill

Mo. lawmakers approve anti-illegal immigrant bill

May 16th, 2008 @ 8:51pm
By CHRIS BLANK
Associated Press Writer

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo (AP) – Missouri lawmakers gave final approval Friday to a bill that adds new restrictions and requirements for illegal immigrants, the cities in which they live and the businesses that employ them.

The bill would

require people to prove they are U.S. citizens or are legally in the country when applying for food stamps, housing and other public benefits; penalize businesses that knowingly hire illegal immigrants; order the Missouri State Highway Patrol to seek special federal immigration training; and bar Missouri cities from refusing to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
 
 
 

 

The measure also allows fines of up to $50,000 for some employers who misclassify their workers as “contractors” instead of “employees.” It would apply to businesses with at least five employees performing public works. When workers are contractors, employers don’t have to pay withholding taxes, provide other benefits or take responsibility if the worker is an illegal immigrant.

The House approved the measure 136-12 on Friday; the Senate followed suit with a 27-7 vote, sending it to Republican Gov. Matt Blunt, who has made passing the legislation a priority.

He said Friday that lawmakers had passed “an extraordinarily strong bill.”

Blunt has used his executive powers to enact several policies targeting illegal immigrants. The Highway Patrol, for example, has identified 250 illegal immigrants since late last summer while acting under Blunt’s directive to check the immigration status of everyone it arrests.

The Washington-based Pew Hispanic Center estimates from U.S. census data that 35,000 to 65,000 illegal immigrants live in Missouri _ roughly the equivalent of the population of Cape Girardeau or St. Charles. But Missouri is projected to have less than 1 percent of the 12 million people estimated to be in the United States illegally.

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