The governor takes credit when a bill first passes, then again when he signs it into law, and once more when it takes effect. Gov. Matt Blunt issued yet another news release about the passing of laws designed to crack down on illegal immigrants in Missouri:
Some of the toughest legislation in the nation to fight illegal immigration takes effect today under Gov. Matt Blunt’s signature. Gov. Blunt called on the General Assembly in his State of the State to enact comprehensive legislation to protect Missouri families and tax dollars from the threat of illegal immigration and the legislature delivered.
"Missourians do not condone lawbreaking. Nor do we look away when someone tries to take advantage of others. We enforce our laws. We defend law-abiding citizens. We reserve the benefits of citizenship for legal residents," Gov. Blunt said. "The legislation I signed embraces the contributions that lawful immigration makes to our society and sends a clear message that we will defend the rule of law and fight to protect Missourians from illegal immigration."
The legislation effective today sets into law policies Gov. Blunt proposed to crack down on illegal immigration, including prohibiting illegals from obtaining driver licenses. The bill also 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.
Last summer Gov. Blunt directed all state law enforcement agencies to verify the immigration status of anyone presented for incarceration. To date, this directive has assisted in the apprehension of more than 285 illegal immigrants, all of which have been turned over to ICE for further action.
Gov. Blunt is taking aggressive steps to curb illegal immigration in Missouri. The governor continues to work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to fight illegal immigration. The Missouri Highway Patrol has 10 troopers that recently attended and graduated from training that gives them authority under Section 287g of the Immigration and Nationality Act to enforce federal immigration laws.
Gov. Blunt also authored the state’s first directive to audit all state contracts to ensure that the employees are legally eligible to work in the U.S. and to terminate contracts if the company employs illegal immigrants. He added tough provisions to allow the state to immediately cancel contracts if the contractor knowingly employs workers not eligible to work in the U.S. and to require contractors to certify that all their employees meet state and federal employment eligibility requirements.
Additionally, he took significant steps to shield taxpayers’ money from supporting building projects that employ illegal workers, including conducting random on-site inspections and performing a Compliance By Written Demand action for all tax credit recipients to verify proof of legal status for all workers.
The Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC) has adopted a stringent workforce eligibility policy consistent with Gov. Blunt’s recommendations to the commission, including sanctions of up to a lifetime ban of contractors and developers who knowingly employ illegal immigrants in violation of federal law. The governor called for this policy to be made permanent through state statute.
Last year, Gov. Blunt ousted a state contractor who hired illegal workers and ordered state agencies to enact a no tolerance policy through tough new contract protections. The governor cancelled the state’s contract with Sam’s Janitorial Services and barred them from doing future business with the state after local and federal law enforcement agencies identified dozens of suspected illegal immigrants working under falsified documents.