In a Friday post, I noted a news release from Gov. Matt Blunt's office noting the graduation of 10 Missouri Highway Patrol troopers from the U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's 287g program, but noted that none of the troopers were named and most of the news release praised Gov. Blunt.
A second news release on the subject was issued today, and this time two of the officers, the class valedictorian and the class president, were named. It would have been nice if the news release had left it at that and let these gentlemen have the spotlight but, as usual, the last two paragraphs were filled with praise for the governor.
The text of the news release follows:
JEFFERSON CITY – Gov. Matt Blunt today commended two Missouri officers who not only graduated from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) "287g program" but also made a strong showing on behalf of Missouri, taking both the valedictorian and class president spots.
"Leave it to Missourians to go above and beyond just meeting the basic requirements of training to enforce our immigration laws and protect Missouri families from illegal activity. I am proud of these two officers for demonstrating to ICE the caliber and quality of people we have serving in our Missouri Highway Patrol," Gov. Blunt said. "I congratulate Sergeant Wade Stuart and Sergeant Michael Cooper for their work and for their dedication to protecting Missouri families from the threats of illegal immigration."
Gov. Blunt congratulated Sergeant Wade E. Stuart who was named class valedictorian and Sergeant Michael A. Cooper who was elected as the class president in yesterday’s South Carolina ceremony. Both officers are assigned to the Patrol’s Division of Drug and Crime Control. The training results in ICE deputizing these 10 troopers, allowing them to enforce federal immigration law under the supervision and authority of ICE as authorized through section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
At the direction of Gov. Blunt, the Patrol began pursuing this training in August 2007. The training was funded through ICE’s section 287(g) program. The Missouri General Assembly appropriated $84,000 to assist with costs associated with the training and other future training opportunities with ICE.
This week Gov. Blunt enacted one of the strongest laws in the country to fight illegal immigration. The new law prohibits illegals from obtaining driver licenses; prohibits the creation of sanctuary cities in the state; requires verification of legal employment status of every public employee; allows for cancellation of state contracts for contractors if they hire illegal immigrants; requires public agencies to verify the legal status of applicants before providing welfare benefits; criminalizes the transportation of illegal immigrants for exploitive purposes; and enacts provisions to punish bad acting employers who hire illegal immigrants. The bill also requires verification of lawful presence for every individual presented for incarceration.