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Thursday, May 22, 2008


The General Assembly on May 16 granted final approval to legislation designed to crackdown on illegal immigration. However, the final version of HB 1549 included substantially weaker penalties for employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants than what had been sought by the Senate.

The original House version targeted illegal immigrants by limiting their access to public services, outlawing so-called – but apparently nonexistent – sanctuary cities that harbor illegal immigrants and granting the Missouri State Highway Patrol the authority to enforce federal immigration laws. Majority Republicans repeatedly rebuffed efforts to punish employers who profit by hiring and exploiting illegal workers. The Senate, however, insisted on employer sanctions, which became a key sticking point in negotiating the final bill. In the end, employer sanctions remained in the legislation but were significantly scaled back.

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