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3/13 – House Gives Final Approval to Legislation Aimed at Keeping Illegal Aliens Out of Missouri Colleges
Jefferson City – The Missouri House gave final approval on Thursday to a piece of legislation that would prohibit public colleges in Missouri from enrolling illegal aliens. The bill cleared the House by a vote of 112-39.
House Bill 1463 would prohibit public institutions of higher education from enrolling unlawfully present aliens. Additionally, the registrar of each institution would be required to certify the institution had not knowingly enrolled any illegal alien before the approval of any appropriations by the General Assembly.
Bill sponsor, Rep. Jerry Nolte, R-Gladstone, said the bill was putting into Missouri statute what was already in federal law. During debate on the House floor he pointed to concerns regarding use of taxpayer money to provide educational opportunities to individuals who are here illegally.
“We’re accountable to the people of this state to spend their tax dollars primarily to educate Missouri students and those lawfully present. We need to focus on Missouri families trying to educate their children,” said Rep. Nolte. “According to federal law it is illegal for a person not legally in the United States to enroll in a college or university. While we are obligated to educate children K-12 regardless of legal status, there is no requirement to provide post-secondary education.”
During debate on Wednesday, House Minority Floor Leader Paul LeVota, D-Independence, questioned whether the legislation adequately addressed the problem of illegal immigration.
“I think the gentleman comes at this issue in a sincere way to say we need to do something about illegal immigrants feeling like they can break the law in the state of Missouri. But the truth of the matter is people do not come to the state of Missouri so they can go to college. They come to work,” said Rep. LeVota. “Where we need to have our focus from a state government level is first to ask our federal government to do their job finally and second we need to make sure employers are doing what they need to do and not taking advantage of the citizens of the state of Missouri and the workers. This bill does nothing to solve these problems.”
The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.
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