Immigration Debate Continues
People from around the state met at the Capitol to speak for and against Senate Bill 348.
Sponsors said one goal of the bill is to prevent illegal immigrants from attending public universities.
"Illegal immigrants are not supposed to be attending our institutions of higher education for the simple purpose that number one, its against federal law, and number two, they well could be taking the spot that belongs to a person who has legally immigrated or is legally documented here," Republican Senator Luann Ridgeway said.
The bill would force employers to check on all workers to make sure they are legal, documented workers.
"The basic pilot program is merely a mechanism where employers or other individuals can go and check to see if the person that they're inquiring about is a properly documented person or legal, legally in the United States," Ridgeway said.
Bill 348 would also discourage hiring of illegal employees, but opponents said this problem is bigger than just Missouri.
"Immigration is incredibly complex," bill opponent Lynda Callon said. "It affects our relationship in the entire world, it affects our leadership in the world, it affects our economy, it literally affects our ability to do business in the world. And I don't really feel that should be done at the state level."
Both sides agree illegal immigration is no longer just a problem for border states.
The current version of Senate Bill 348 stripped out language that would have made it a crime to rent a home to an illegal alien.