The Statue of Liberty.

Claims About Missouri’s Approach to Undocumented Immigrants

Claim

A viral email and social media posting alleges that Missouri has no unauthorized immigrants because state lawmakers have passed a number of bills aimed at cracking down on them.

Rating

Not True

Reporting

An indifferently spelled and punctuated chain email turned into a social media posting has been making the rounds for years, containing personal opinion, misinformation, and ethnic slurs presented as fact, along with an exhortation to forward the missive to others:

SMARTEST LAWMAKERS ARE IN MISSOURI!  “Smartest State in the USA”???

Missouri has no illegals, go figure…shouldn’t the other states do the same? Missouri ‘s approach to the problem of illegal immigration appears to be more advanced, sophisticated, strict and effective than anything to date in Arizona.

Does the White House appreciate what Missouri has done? So, why doesn’t Missouri receive attention?

Answer: There are no illegals in Missouri to demonstrate. The “Show Me” state has again shown us how it should be done. There needs to be more publicity and exposure regarding what Missouri has done. Please pass this around. In 2007, Missouri placed on the ballot a proposed constitutional amendment designating English as the official language of Missouri . In November, 2008, nearly 90% voted in favor! Thus, English became the official language for ALL governmental activity in Missouri . No individual has the right to demand government services in a language OTHER than English.

In 2008, a measure was passed that required the Missouri Highway Patrol and other law enforcement officials to verify the immigration status of any person arrested, and inform federal authorities if the person is found to be in Missouri illegally. Missouri law enforcement officers receive specific training with respect to enforcement of federal immigration laws. In Missouri , illegal immigrants do NOT have access to taxpayer benefits such as food stamps or health care through Missouri Health NET.

In 2009, a measure was passed that ensures Missouri’s public institutions of higher education do NOT award financial aid to individuals who are illegally in the United States.
In Missouri , all post-secondary institutions of higher education to annually certify to the Missouri Dept. Of Higher Education that they have NOT knowingly awarded financial aid to students who are unlawfully present in the United States.

So, while Arizona has made national news for its new law,it is important to remember, Missouri has been far more proactive in addressing this horrific problem. Missouri has made it clear that illegal immigrants are NOT welcome in the state and they will certainly NOT receive public benefits at the expense of Missouri taxpayers.

DON’T DELETE THIS AMERICA . KEEP IT GOING UNTIL WE GET ALL 50 STATES TO COMPLY!!!

Taken from: “The Ozarks Sentinel” Editorial

The meat of this email forward did originally come from an editorial written by former Republican Rep. Nita Jane Ayres that was published by the Ozarks Sentinel in May 2009. That site is now down, but the text of the editorial has been republished by many sites verbatim:

In 2007, the Missouri General Assembly approved HJR 7 to place on the ballot a proposed constitutional amendment designating English as the official language of Missouri. Voters then went to the polls and approved the measure with nearly 90 percent voting in favor. With that, English became the official language for all governmental proceedings in Missouri. It also means no individual has the right to demand government services in a language other than English. A common language is the cornerstone of a cohesive and united state and country. Ensuring that English is our official language is simply common sense.

Another measure that directly addresses the issue of illegal immigration was passed in 2008. HB 1549 requires our Highway Patrol and other law enforcement officials to verify the immigration status of any person arrested, and inform federal authorities if the person is found to be here illegally. It also allows Missouri law enforcement officers to receive training to enforce federal immigration laws. Furthermore, the bill makes it clear that illegal immigrants will not have access to taxpayer benefits such as food stamps and health care through MO HealthNet. With the passage of this legislation, Missouri sent a clear message that illegal immigrants are not welcome in our state, and that they are certainly not welcome to receive public benefits at the cost of Missouri taxpayers.

2009 saw another significant piece of legislation passed dealing with illegal immigration. HB 390 ensures Missouri’s public institutions of higher education do not award financial aid to individuals who are here illegally. The law also requires all postsecondary institutions of higher education to annually certify to the Missouri Department of Higher Education that they have not knowingly awarded financial aid to students who are unlawfully present in the United States. The bill represents another common sense approach to the issue as it ensures taxpayer dollars are not used to subsidize the education of someone who is in our country illegally.

So while Arizona has made national news for its new law, it’s important to remember Missouri has been proactive in addressing this growing problem. The laws we have on the books help ensure the rights and benefits of Missourians are preserved for actual Missouri citizens. It’s also important to remember that this country has always opened its arms to immigrants, which is why our nation is often referred to as the great melting pot. Immigrants from all parts of the world have helped make our country what it is today. However, our doors are not open to those who try to live in our country illegally. I believe Missouri’s laws make that very clear and give our law enforcement officials the authority they need to deal with the problem.

Missouri’s general assembly did place a constitutional referendum on the ballot in 2007 that designated English as the state’s primary language. The state legislature also got a measure signed into law in 2008 that required Missouri Highway State Patrol officers to check the immigration status of people who were pulled over.

It is also true that lawmakers in Missouri have made undocumented immigrants ineligible for state-sponsored health care and food stamp programs, according to Legal Services of Missouri. Undocumented students are also ineligible for financial aid in Missouri.

And while the claim that no undocumented people live in in Missouri is false, the state did purportedly have one of the lowest populations of unauthorized immigrants in the country, at least according to 2010 U.S. Census data, there were about 55,000 unauthorized immigrants in Missouri, which was less than 1 percent of the state’s population. As of February 2019, lawmakers are still trying to expand those laws.

Missouri state lawmakers have passed a number of bills to prevent “illegal immigration” in the state, but the idea that Missouri doesn’t have any undocumented people is completely false. It’s also worth noting that the United States has no official language, making the state laws toothless at best.

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