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Blunt targets illegal immigration in directive


Jefferson City, MO – Gov. Matt Blunt issued a directive Tuesday that will tighten oversight of state-financed construction projects to ensure that contractors don't employ illegal immigrants.

The directive came one day after the Republican asked state law enforcement agencies to check the immigration status of people they arrest.

Blunt said he was spurred to issue the new directive after construction projects in this suburban St. Louis town and elsewhere were alleged to employ illegal immigrants. "This will help ensure that Missouri taxpayers are not in some way subsidizing illegal immigration," he said after announcing the directive at a news conference.

The directive will only impact contractors who receive state tax credits or other financial incentives.

Those contractors must already provide paperwork ensuring their workers are employed legally. But now, the Missouri Department of Economic Development will randomly audit that paperwork and perform surprise visits to work sites to ensure that all employees have proper documentation.

"They would need to be able to produce those documents when those sites are visited for everyone on those sites," Blunt said.

O'Fallon Mayor Donna Morrow said she was thankful the state was stepping in to help the city deal with a problem she has long found frustrating.

On Monday, Blunt ordered that people arrested by state troopers, the Missouri Water Patrol and Capitol Police undergo immigration status checks. The governor pointed to the Aug. 4 killings of three college students in Newark, N.J. Jose Carranza, 28, an illegal immigrant from Peru, is one of six people charged in their deaths.

Carranza was out on bail on child rape and aggravated assault charges when the killings occurred. Immigration officials were never alerted about his first arrest.

Blunt said America is dealing with a wave of illegal immigrants who "openly flout the laws of the United States."

Any arrestee found to be in the country illegally could be taken to one of 11 federal detention centers in Missouri. Federal immigration agents would then determine what happens to the detainees, Highway Patrol officials said.

It is also possible that someone stopped by a trooper could be detained for immigration authorities even if that person would not otherwise have been arrested, the Highway Patrol said.


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