MO House votes to make police ask for immigration status
By Marshall Griffin, KWMU
Jefferson City, MO – The Missouri House on Monday gave preliminary approval to a bill that would require police to ask about the immigration status of everyone they arrest.
State Rep. Bob Onder, a Republican from St. Charles County, says he believes the bill can withstand any constitutional challenges.
"I don't believe this would encourage profiling at all," Onder said Monday. "In fact, the bill says explicitly that everyone under arrest for a crime, regardless of race or ethnic origin, be inquired as to their immigration status, and again remember this is only people under arrest for a crime."
The bill would also allow state troopers to be trained to enforce federal immigration laws.
Meanwhile, various groups that advocate for illegal immigrants and refugees are voicing support for a federal bill in Congress they say would provide reforms that preserve the rule of law, and provide a path toward citizenship. They're calling on Missouri lawmakers to stop passing state laws that would crack down on illegal immigration.
"Congress is on the move," says Joan Suarez, Chair of the Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates Coalition. "The state legislature can now kind of stand down, and pause, and wait for Congress to, this year, pass comprehensive immigration reform."