Republican Missouri State Sen. Will Kraus has introduced SB 590, a bill that would mandate all public schools verify the immigration status of students. It would also require law enforcement officers to check immigration status on all stops--even when no arrest is made--and create a state misdemeanor for not carrying proper citizenship documentation.
The bill comes after the Department of Justice struck down similar measures in Arizona and Alabama. Last year a federal appeals court blocked two provisions of Alabama's anti-immigrant law HB 56 that would have required schools to track immigration statuses of it's public school students.
The Supreme Court has also upheld its 1982 ruling that children have a right to attend public schools regardless of their immigration status but bills like this still instill terror in immigrant communities. When HB 56 was introduced in Alabama Latinos pulled their kids out of schools in droves, the same thing happened two decades earlier in Los Angeles when California voters introduced Proposition 187.
"With the beating Alabama's taken for HB 56--as of late last year the governor had even relented, and said he supported modifying the law--it's hard to imagine another state wanting to attract that kind of negative attention, but anti-immigrant demagoguery is still a popular way for right-wing politicians to make a name for themselves and shore up votes," Colorlines.com's Julianne Hing said in an interview.
Missouri's bill marks the first SB 1070 copycat of the year to be filed.
The Department of Justice is currently pursuing separate lawsuits against three states--Arizona, Alabama and South Carolina--for passing their own immigration enforcement laws, and a civil rights coalition has challenged Indiana, Utah and Georgia for their copycat laws as well.