Government Relations

UM Legislative Update Newsletter

April 13, 2007

Senate committee passes immigration reform legislation

The Senate Pensions, Veterans’ Affairs and General Laws Committee voted Wednesday, April 11, to pass out of committee a bill that combines three pieces of immigration reform legislation, creating the Missouri Omnibus Immigration Act. Senate Committee Substitute for SB348, 626 and 461 brings together bills sponsored by Sen. Chris Koster (R-Harrisonville), Sen. Luann Ridgeway (R- Smithville) and Sen. Victor Callahan (D-Independence), respectively. The combined version includes a section that would prohibit illegal aliens from being admitted to public colleges and universities in Missouri. The bill would require that, prior to the approval of any appropriations by the General Assembly, all universities certify to an appropriations committee that they have not knowingly admitted any aliens unlawfully present in the U.S. during the preceding year.

The legislation contains additional provisions that would prohibit illegal aliens from receiving any state or local public benefit. The bill also stipulates that applicants must provide affirmative proof that he or she is a citizen or a permanent resident of the U.S. or is lawfully present in the U.S. Applicants who cannot provide proof at the time of application may sign an affidavit under oath, attesting to their legal residency in order to receive temporary benefits. Students who provide the sworn affidavit then have 90 days to provide adequate proof of residency or may be admitted indefinitely if he or she provides a copy of a completed application for a birth certificate that is pending in Missouri or another state.

The bill also would require applicants who are aliens to verify their residency status with the federal government prior to receiving any local or state benefit.

The omnibus bill contains provisions not related to higher education. A section of the bill that would bar individuals from renting to or housing illegal aliens has been omitted from the legislation.

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