Bill would require authorities to check immigration status

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JEFFERSON CITY - A proposed bill would require law enforcement officials to determine the immigration status of people during some traffic stops, detentions and arrests.  

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Mike Cunningham, R-Rogersville. 

The bill says, "Any law enforcement officer of the state, who makes a lawful stop, detention, or arrest of any person shall make a reasonable attempt to determine immigration status of such person where reasonable suspicion exists." 

However, it states authorities may not solely consider race, color, or national origin when deciding who to check. 

Tyler McClay, who works with immigrants, said the measure raises concerns. 

"A lot of migrants are members of our community and so this bill could harm members of our community," he said. 

Under the bill, people who are arrested would not be released until their immigration status is verified. 

"I think the concern with this law is that it would require to check the status of everyone who doesn't have documentation even if its for a minor offense, like jay-walking," McClay said. 

The bill says a person shall be presumed lawfully present in the United States if they can provide one of the three identifications:

  • Missouri driver's license
  • A valid Missouri non-driver's license
  • Valid United States, state or local government issued identification

Cunningham did not respond to a request from KOMU 8 News for comment.

In an email, a member of his team said, "He sponsored it because he feels this will be another measure to keep Missourians safe, and Missouri voters should have a say in this matter." 

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