Controversial illegal immigration bill heard in Senate
JEFFERSON CITY - A state senator wants to make it illegal for immigrants to return to the state of Missouri if they were already caught in the state illegally.
"I would rather be proactive then something, you know, happen and we take up the issue. If someone's illegal we really don't want them. Your kids don't want them, we don't want them," Sen. Mike Cunningham, R-Rogersville, said. "We don't want the druggies, we don't want people who have convicted felonies whether it be murder, rape, armed robbery, whatever. That's not the people we want in the state of Missouri."
According to Cunningham, the purpose of the bill is to consider any person who immigrated illegally and re-entered the state guilty of a Class-B felony. He said he thinks it's necessary because he doesn't feel the federal government is handling illegal immigration properly.
Opponents of the bill say it's unconstitutional and makes the state of Missouri seem unwelcoming.
"We learned when Arizona tried to pass S.B. 1070 years ago, not only did that bill have an extremely negative and disruptive impact on it's local communities, but provisions like the ones in this bill were ruled unconstitutional in by the Supreme Court," said Vanessa Crawford Aragon, the executive director of Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates.
The bill Crawford Argon is referring to was deemed unconstitutional according to the Supreme Court because the state was encroaching on the federal government's enforcement power with federal immigration laws.
Cunningham said if his bill is deemed illegal, then he will withdraw it from the Senate schedule.