Missouri GOP Pushes Alabama-Style Bill Requiring Schools To Check Students’ Immigration Status

In the past year, federal judges, many of them conservative, have blocked parts of radical anti-immigrant laws in Alabama and Arizona, including provisions that require carrying proof of lawful residency and mandate that public schools check the immigration status of all students before they can enroll.

The Obama administration has also challenged sections that force state law enforcement officials to determine the immigration status of anyone they stop or arrest if officials have reason to believe that the individual might be undocumented — a recipe for racial profiling.

But Missouri Republicans apparently didn’t the memo. They’ve introduced a copycat bill that includes the most outrageous — and unconstitutional — parts of the Alabama and Arizona laws:

Missouri could be the next battleground in a nationwide fight over tougher immigration laws.

State Sen. Will Kraus, a Lee’s Summit Republican, is sponsoring a bill that would mandate that all public schools verify the immigration status of enrollees. It also would require law enforcement officers to check immigration status on all stops when they have reasonable cause, and create a state misdemeanor for not carrying proper citizenship documentation. […]

“This bill is a really bad idea,” [Vanessa Crawford, executive director of Missouri Immigration and Refugee Advocates] said. “This would force police and school officials to act as immigration agents, and would result in innocent people facing harassment. And passing a law that will undoubtedly end up in court is irresponsible.”

By ignoring recent rulings on anti-immigrant laws, Missouri Republicans seem to be spoiling for a fight. The Supreme Court recently announced that it will determine whether Arizona’s measure violates federal law.


The Court has already ruled that it’s unconstitutional for states to deprive undocumented students of an education. The Alabama law has effectively done just that, successfully intimidating immigrant families into withdrawing their children from school.