Community leaders from around Missouri have joined together to speak out against SB 590, a bill filed by Sen. Kraus’ of Lees Summit. Taking cues from now-notorious anti-immigrant legislation in Alabama and Arizona, this bill is an extreme and expensive anti-immigrant omnibus bill to the Missouri Senate.
Partners around the state have launched a petition site where voters may tell their elected officials to oppose the bill. The site is BadForFamiliesBadForMissouri.org.
The legislation, most of which has been enjoined by courts in other states, creates a harassing and unwelcoming climate for immigrants, documented and undocumented, throughout the state. The far-reaching bill places unfunded mandates on police and school districts around the state. Police departments would be forced to act as immigration agents, checking papers at any stop, and arresting anyone “suspected” of being an undocumented immigrant. Not only does this create new enforcement requirements without additional funding, but it will cause division between the police and the community, creating a climate of mistrust and suspicion. School officials would be forced to ascertain and report the immigration status of all students, as well as their parents. In a state where many districts are facing budget crises, SB 590 not only creates substantial requirements on administrators’ time and energy, but similarly alienates immigrant families from school officials.
These provisions have been a nightmare of enforcement elsewhere, and have already been the subject of intense litigation and efforts to repeal. Not only does SB 590 run counter to Missouri values of equality, fairness, and respect, but it is an expensive and irresponsible distraction from our state’s real needs: addressing budget shortfalls and educating Missouri’s school children.
“At a time when our district needs to gain the trust and cooperation of parents to increase our average daily attendance – one of the standards of accreditation – this bill sabotages that effort by creating a hostile and intimidating relationship between our district and its families,” said Airick Leonard West, President of the Kansas City School District Tuesday.
Ken Schmitt, Chair of the Missouri/Kansas Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association had this to say: “Every bit of the language of MO SB 590 has been the subject of legal challenge from the United States Federal Government in Arizona, in Alabama and in other states. All of this language has been halted dead in its tracts in either the Ninth Circuit or the Eleventh Circuit Federal Court of Appeals or both. In an economic environment where the Missouri Legislature will be hard-pressed to meet its constitutional obligation to balance the state budget and many of the difficult budget decisions this session will undoubtedly come at the expense of critical funding for programs that have real significance to the lives of our most vulnerable residents, the last thing Missouri needs to do is waste time passing legislation which has already caused other states to waste hundreds of thousands of dollars in useless litigation.”
Go to BadForFamiliesBadForMissouri.org TODAY and tell your legislators to stand up for Missouri’s immigrant families. Tell them to VOTE NO on SB 590.