"Illegal immigration is a serious problem in our country and state. Missourians have been waiting on Washington to take action on illegal immigration for years. As Washington has sat idle, problems and frustrations with illegal immigration have only increased," Gov. Blunt said. "To better protect Missouri families, I will work to enact a new law to specifically forbid the issuance of driver licenses to illegal immigrants and to make it a crime to knowingly help any illegal immigrant to fraudulently obtain a driver license."
Gov. Blunt will call for legislation during the next legislative session that specifically prohibits illegal aliens from obtaining driver licenses as well as imposes criminal penalties for those who assist illegal aliens in obtaining driver licenses and abetting fraud. While existing safeguards within the driver license approval process help prevent illegal aliens from receiving a Missouri driver license, it is not specifically prohibited by state law.
Gov. Blunt stated he is adamantly opposed to the action of New York's governor who had sponsored a plan to give driver licenses to illegal immigrants.
"The New York governor concocted a scheme to issue driver licenses to illegal immigrants," Gov. Blunt said. "A plan like that might sound good to politicians in New York City or Washington, D.C., but it would not be good here in Missouri. Under my plan, people who are here illegally will not get a driver license. And if anyone tries to help them get one, they will be prosecuted, and punished."
Gov. Blunt has been proactive in the fight against illegal immigration in Missouri. He directed state law enforcement agencies to verify the immigration status of every criminal presented for incarceration. The governor's administration is also working with ICE for authority under Section 287g of the Immigration and Nationality Act that would deputize state law enforcement officers to enforce federal laws and protect Missourians against illegal immigration. The agreement will allow select troopers, Capitol Police, and water patrol officers to help enforce immigration laws. Gov. Blunt sent a letter earlier this month asking Missouri's Congressional Delegation to support and help expedite his request.
Gov. Blunt has offered his support to local law enforcement and prosecutors in their efforts in the fight against illegal immigration and reminds prosecutors that state law declares employers of illegal immigrants ineligible for state tax credits, tax abatements, or loans. Receipt of tax credits by employers of illegal immigrants is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in prison.
In addition he took significant steps to shield taxpayers' money from supporting building projects that employ illegal workers including:
Gov. Blunt is a strong advocate for protecting Missouri from illegal activity. He has issued a letter to the Missouri Housing Development Commission outlining principles for the commission to consider regarding illegal immigration that include possible sanctions of up to a lifetime ban of contractors and developers who knowingly employ illegal immigrants in violation of federal law.
Earlier this year Gov. Blunt ousted Sam's Janitorial Services, a
now former state contractor whose 60-person workforce included 22 illegal workers. A law enforcement action initiated by the governor's administration in coordination with ICE resulted in the arrest of 22 suspected illegal immigrants. Of the 22 arrested, seven were immediately deported, 11 were charged and the status of the remaining four is pending the conclusion of an investigation.
Immediately following this action, Gov. Blunt canceled the state's contract with Sam's Janitorial Services and barred them from doing further business with the state. He also ordered state agencies to enact a no tolerance policy through tough new contract protections.
Gov. Blunt also authored the state's first directive to audit all state contractors to ensure that the contract employees are legally eligible to work in the U.S. and to terminate contracts if it is determined a contractor employs illegal immigrants. He added tough provisions in state contracts to allow the state to immediately cancel contracts if it determines the contractor knowingly has employees not eligible to work in the U.S. and to require contractors to certify that all their employees meet state and federal employment eligibility requirements.