Immigrant and refugee advocacy organizations want the state to keep its nose out of what it calls federal business. The Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates, a group of about 30 organizations, says the STRIVE Act, or the Security Through Regularized Immigration and Vibrant Economy, is a bill working its way through Congress that would replace the current immigration system - a system the group calls unregulated, chaotic, even abusive. But, the group says that means the state doesn’t need to meddle with immigration issues.
Senator Joan Bray of St. Louis says she agrees and is calling on leaders of the state house and the senate to quit its grandstanding with immigration issues, halt state immigration legislation and let Congress do its job.
"We do not need 50 states doing 50 immigration laws," Bray says. "The states are in no way in any position to regulate immigration as proposed by some [state] bills. There is no way the Secretary of State become an immigration office. There is no way that [state] law enforcement can become immigration officers." She says current state legislation only serves to divide communities, pitting person against person and turning neighbors into enemies who are suspcious of each other. Bray says such legislation is simply based on fear or misinformation and she says Missouri shouldn’t foster that kind of atmosphere.
The advocacy groups urge the state to tackle important state issues such as health care and education.