A bill filed by a Lee's Summit senator is focusing on immigration, and while it hasn't had any hearings yet, it's drawing a lot of reaction from around the state.
"I didn't think there would be that many groups so opposed to collecting information," said Sen. Will Kraus, who wrote Senate Bill 590.
"We are impacted here because the federal government here has failed to do their job. This bill simply would give us the actual data - impact and cost to Missouri taxpayers for the federal government's failure to enforce immigration laws," he said.
Part of Kraus' bill would require Missouri schools to check the immigration status of students. Kansas City School Board President Airick Leonard West said he feels that may keep students away from attending school. West was part of a group that included immigrant advocacy groups that spoke in teleconference Tuesday against the bill.
"Some of our scholars may be intimidated away from participating in their classes - a reality that directly undermines our effort to regain accreditation. If passed, this legislation could unfairly disadvantage any school districts serving a population of families that includes undocumented scholars. 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," West said.
Another part of Kraus' bill would give local police the ability to question a person's citizenship at a traffic stop. The senator feels the extra work for police officers would not be a burden.
"He (the officer) has to have reasonable suspicion. To actually call ICE to run that individual, it is up to the officer's discretion," Kraus said.
The Missouri bill could join a list of a handful of other states trying to address illegal immigration.
Later this spring, the U.S. Supreme Court plans to chime in on the other state immigration-based laws.
To read Kraus' full statement on his bill, click on the link to the right of this story.
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