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Valley Park changes its immigration ordinance

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

Valley Park, MO – The Valley Park Board of Aldermen held a special meeting Tuesday night and changed the town's ordinance meant to combat illegal immigration. The meeting came a day after a St. Louis County judge issued a temporary restraining order that blocks the law's enforcement.

The law prohibits businesses from hiring illegal immigrants and landlords from renting to them. That hasn't changed. What's new is that the ordinance now defines "illegal alien" in line with federal law, and also requires city officials to verify a suspected violator's immigration status with Homeland Security.

However, attorney Kathy Wisniewski-who sued Valley Park last week-says litigation will continue, adding "I don't think there is anything in our system of government that provides for local states and municipalities to do the jobs that are dedicated to the federal government."

Supporters of the ordinance say it and others around the country are necessary because the federal government is not doing its job.

The new ordinance also defines "illegal alien" in line with federal law and requires the city to verify a suspect's immigration status before enforcing the ordinance.

Despite the legal challenge, Valley Park Mayor Jeffery Whitteaker says Valley Park still has a role to play in combating illegal immigration.

"I think it's going to take the small communities, with the large, and the federal government to help curtail this problem," said Whitteaker.

"And if we only do it in this small area, that's a small accomplishment, and hopefully fellow communities will follow us."

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