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Governor Spells out Plans to Enforce Immigration Laws

By Sylvia Maria Gross

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kcur/local-kcur-622840.mp3

Kansas City, MO – Missouri Governor Matt Blunt this week empowered state troopers and the Department of Economic Development to help enforce federal immigration law. Blunt described the new strategy in Kansas City yesterday. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross has more.

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Governor Blunt instructed state officers to run immigration checks on all suspects who are arrested for incarceration. About 25 troopers will also be trained and authorized by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to transport people who cannot prove their legal status to detention centers.

BLUNT: There about 50 ICE agents in the state of Missouri. There's 1100 troopers, bout 100 water patrol, capitol police force. This is a big multiplication in the law enforcement forces available to enforce federal immigration law.

Blunt said these new programs can be implemented at minimal cost to the state.

BLUNT: If there are costs that emerge as we continue down this path we will consider those costs in the budget process and I suspect we'll meet those obligations.

Immigrant advocates argue that Blunt's new policies could lead to costly lawsuits against the state. President of the local chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association Angela Ferguson, said the new policy will be hard to enforce.

FERGUSON: Immigration is one of the most complex areas of the law, there's going to be racial profiling.

Under Blunt's direction, the Department of Economic Development will also create a program to monitor the immigration status of workers on state-supported construction projects.

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