An anti-illegal immigration bill has won tentative approval in the House, with much of the debate focused on whether Missouri has an unofficial sanctuary city.
True sanctuary cities instruct city employees to not cooperate with federal immigration officials. St. Louis Rep. Mike Daus, a Democrat, asks bill sponsor Bob Onder (R-Lake St. Louis) if he’s explored the reason why cities have declared themselves sanctuaries for illegal immigrants. When Onder replies he believes it’s because of political pressure, Daus replies, "Political pressure from people who can’t vote."
Rep. Jenee Lowe (D-Kansas City) says her city has been unfairly tagged as an unofficial sanctuary city, because police there care more about solving crimes than checking immigration records. She says that 20 years ago, Kansas City had a different police chief with a different philosophy which made residents unwilling to call police.
"The homicide rate, as testified by the captain, was very high," Lowe tells colleagues during House floor debate, "And I don’t know if he used the word ‘war zone’, but he painted the picture of a war zone."
Under the bill, sanctuary cities wouldn’t be allowed in Missouri. Onder says that cities which declare themselves sanctuaries for illegal immigrants can even block the investigation of crimes committed by illegal immigrants and keep federal officials from deporting criminals.
The bill also would require Highway Patrol troopers to be trained in enforcing federal immigration laws. The citizenship of those under arrest would be determined. It would keep driver licenses out of the hands of illegal immigrants and punishes those who traffic driver licenses to illegals.
The bill combines several measures: HB 1549, 1771, 1395 and 2366 .