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A blog for the Coalition of Hispanic Organizations, a membership group based in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Immigrant Experts Forum

Last Thursday, March 1st, the COHO Civil Rights Committee held an "Experts" Forum at Penn Valley Community College so that members of our community could meet with national expert Jon Blazer and learn what is being considered nationally and locally. 45 involved community members were invited. Lewis Duiguid, Vice President of the Kansas City Star, gave opening comments, which were inspiring and laid the basis of our work that evening.

Mr. Blazer Public Benefits Policy Attorney for the National Immigration Law Center in Washington, D.C. expounded on the many efforts nationwide to enact legislation targeting immigrants and those who appear to be immigrants. It was determined that alliances must be formed with groups who value the freedom that this country promises. This blog will endeavor over the next few months to illuminate our community on the issues.
Tomorrow, March 8, 2007 is Hispanic Day in Jefferson City. We, Hispanics, will travel to our Missouri state capital to pose questions of our state legislators regarding issues of importance to our community.

Chief among our concerns is Senate Bill 348 which creates the Missouri Omnibus Act. Senator Chris Koster, Harrisonville, MO, R- District 31, Senate Majority Caucas Chairman is the bill's sponsor. It was last acted upon 1/25/2007 - Second Read and Referred S Pensions, Veterans' Affairs and General Laws Committee. The effective date of the bill if passed is August 28,2007 if passed.

A summary of this bill follows:

The Division of Immigration Compliance is created inside the office of the Secretary of State to implement new provisions in the law that deny housing and employment to illegal aliens.

It is illegal to employ unauthorized aliens and the act mandates that every employer in the state participate in the federal Basic Pilot Program in order to verify an employee's work authorization status as a condition of employment. Certificates of incorporation and other business licenses and registrations will be suspended when an employer employ's unauthorized aliens. Steps for curing violations are enumerated.

It is also illegal, under the act, to rent any dwelling to an illegal alien. Rental licenses and occupancy permits will be denied or suspended for those who knowingly or recklessly rent to illegal aliens and steps for curing violations are enumerated. A process is created whereby the landlord may, through the Division of Immigration Enforcement, verify the immigration status of any individual.

Law enforcement officers must inquire into the immigration status of any individual detained for any violation unless the inquiry would significantly extend the duration of the detention. If the individual is found to be illegal, the officer shall cooperate with any request from federal authorities regarding detention and custody transfer.

The state shall enter into cooperative agreements with the federal government to designate state law enforcement officers to help enforce federal immigration law.

Illegal aliens are barred from attending all public universities in the state and shall not receive any type of public assistance or benefit.

The act also authorizes cities, villages, and towns to enact ordinances prohibiting the employment of unauthorized aliens or unlawful workers and may deny business licenses to employers who employ unlawful workers.

This act is similar to SB 334 (2005), SB 988 (2006), SB 178 (2007), and SB 180 (2007).


Please note, I do want to point out that I truly believe that the language of the above proposed legislation refers to creatures from outer space.

What I want to know is from what planet do the creatures referred to in this bill hail from? and why weren't we alerted by the media when they arrived? It would appear that the efforts of Senator Koster and his cohorts are best directed in securing our celestial borders. This bill reads like a bad episode of Star Wars!