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The Law Offices of Angela L. Williams, LLC » Further Conversations with WIll Kraus about SB590

Further Conversations with WIll Kraus about SB590

January 27, 2012 at 4:10 pm
filed under attrition through enforcement, Comprehensive Immigration Reform, Constitution, Federal Power, Immigration, Immigration Myths, Missouri Senate, Other Appalling State Legislation, Perspective, Politicians making things worse, Self-Deportation, Sen. Will Kraus (MO State-R), State Based Immigration Laws, State's Rights, Supremacy Clause, Wasting Money
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Earlier this week I posted a series of emails between Mr. Kraus and a Missouri Resident who also is an ESL teacher in Missouri.  This teacher contacted me after reading one of my blogs about SB590 and how it would be awful for her as a teacher and for her students and their families.  I encouraged her to email the committee members.  She did and the series of emails that I posted was the result.  Feeling as though I could not let Mr. Kraus’ intentional ignorance of how difficult it is to determine the immigration status of someone I emailed him in response to the email he had sent the ESL teacher.  I wanted to list that exchange.  I have not received any other response from him after my last email.  The bill passed form Committee as did the English Only DL bill showing that they are perfectly willing to completely ignore testimony and do what they want.  Plus, judging from both his testimony and his comments in the emails, he clearly has not even read the bill.  As you will see it is confusing, poorly written, and contradictory.

My email to him:

From: Angie Williams [mailto:angie.williams@me.com]
Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 12:02 AM
To: Will Kraus
Subject: Your response to XXXXXXXXX regarding the simplicity of determining immigration status
I testified against your bill last Tuesday about the very things you address to XXXXXX in your recent email to her that she has been so kind as to forward to me.  Since you either were not listening or Neither I nor the other attorney who testified about this issue were clear enough so I thought I would send you some concrete examples of why you are simply incorrect in your belief that one’s immigration status is easily determined, that it is not going to be a drain on resources to our schools and it is going to produce a meaningful number.
Here is your response to her:

> You are right.  I do not understand why it is a burden to be asked your immigration status.  It is a simple fact, nothing more.  You are either a citizen or not.  If not, you are either documented or not.  If you are documented showing that documentation is not a burden.  If you are not, it is a simple answer to a simple question.  Since we all agree federal law requires any child an education and since this bill prohibits any use of the information gathered other than to collect numerical data for DESE, I don�ft understand why anyone would be afraid of that process.
> The area undisputed is that lack of federal enforcement of current law costs Missouri taxpayers money.  I don�ft believe attempts to quantify that amount are at all misguided.
> My door is always open,
> Will Kraus

Here is my very serious response to you.  Obviously I am morally opposed to this type of legislation and obviously we see the immigration problem very differently.  I see is as a human problem where we are going to have to make compromises to fix.  You see it as something black and white with no room for any discretion or recognition of individual circumstances.  I am not going to try to persuade you to change your mind on the morality of the situation or that we are going to have to do more than just deport deport deport to fix this problem.  Instead I want to try to illustrate some very real and practical problems with this bill that are going to be impossible to deal with.  Also I am only going o focus right now on the school part but every thing I am saying would also apply to the local law enforcement officer trying to determine one’s immigration status while having someone pulled over for a traffic stop.
What you are asking for is not simple, as my examples will show, and it will cost money and time and resources and confusion.  And ultimately it will not give you what you claim you want which is a real cost of education for …and I am a little unclear her as to exactly what you even are asking for..undocumented children, children of undocumented parents even if the kids are legal or maybe even all students involved in ESL programs, and then after these kids/parents/ESL students are counted up then the school has to 1. determine the cost of educating them and 2 the effect that having them there at all has on the quality of education for everyone else?  Again it is very unclear simply by the wording even what you want.  But assuming that what you do want is to count the undocumented people in Missouri, and make some sort of determination as to how much they are “costing the taxpayers” this will not give you a number that has anymore meaning that simply counting up all the foreigners and assuming that what 50% of them are illegal.  Here is why.  I ask you to try to be honest with yourself to see if you can answer these questions.  In fact I would love to see you actually answer each example as to whether that person is legal or not, what document they need to present to prove it and how they would be calculated in your formula.  Send it back to me.  I would like to see what you come up with and I will tell you if you are correct.
Because you seem to know something that  apparently all of us immigration lawyers, specialized immigration courts with judges who do nothing but hear these cases and trial attorneys who do nothing but these cases, the members of the Board of Immigration Appeals, all the Federal Appellate Judges across the country, the Supreme Court, all the USCIS agents and adjudicators, the service center workers, the CPB agents and ICE agents the Consular Officers all over the world, the State Department, the Justice Department, the Attorneys who work for the Justice Department working on Federal Appeals are totally missing.   Because we all spend an extraordinary amount of time and money trying to determine the immigrate status of people all over the world and within the United States and according to you  it is “a simple answer to a simple question.”  We are all obviously wasting our time and everyone’s money and clearly are not as clever nor know nearly as much about our system as you who has a bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration and a Minor in Military Science from Central Missouri State University.
 Let me propose several scenarios and lets lay legal or not legal, since it is so black and white.
1.  Maria, age 9 and her mom come to the US on a B1/B2 visa with an I-94 authorizing a stay of 6 months to visit Maria’s Grandparents.  While here during the 6 months the Grandmother, who is an LPR, gets sick and Maria’s mom decides she needs to stay in the US longer than 6 months.  Prior to the expiration of the I-94 Maria’s Mom files a form I-539 application to extend or change non immigrant status.  Since the trip is lasting longer than they expected Maria’s mom decides to enroll Maria in school so she does not fall behind since there is no one in Mexico to care for Maria and it is not possible to send Maria back alone.  At the time she enrolls in school her I-94 is expired, but her vis is still valid and her I-539 is pending but she only has a receipt showing it was filed.  Legal or Not legal…and if legal WHAT document should she slap down on the principal’s desk to show this?
2.  Jana and Michael are 2 orphans from The Sudan who are in the United States in foster homes.  In a fit of insanity inspired by the many children Brad and Angelina have adopted Mary and John brought Jana and Michael from The Sudan after going through the process of adopting them in The Sudan while on a Mission trip with their church last summer.  They bring the kids, who were living in an orphanage sponsored by their church, on legal visa for adopted children.  However once in the United States they fail to finish the process and finalize either the adoption or the Residency of the Children because they immediately begin having problems with the kids, who are completely traumatized and exhibit out of control and aggressive behavior after having to hide in a tree while their whole village was massacred by rebel forces with machetes.  The hid there for days eating bugs listening to their family and friends bleed to death until they  are spotted by forces several days later.  The spend several year being forced to be Child Soldiers and participate in all sorts of heinous atrocities until they are rescued by some missionaries and placed in this home to rehabilitate child soldiers.  Because their behavior is more than Mary and John bargained for they eventually give up their potential parental rights and turn the kids over to the state.  Legal or Not Legal?  And if legal what document would show this?
3.  Jose and his family all sneak across the Mexican US border and make their way to Lee’s Summit where they live in an apartment, work, pay taxes and do not cause any problems.  There are 2 kids born in Mexico and later have 1 child born in the United States.  One day, 11 years after they arrive,  they are all driving in their minivan, which is properly plated and has insurance, and they are rear ended.  Because it is Lee’s Summit Jose and his wife are arrested and immigration is notified.  They pick up Jose and his wife issue them NTA’s give them a signature and give them a court date for 10 months in the future.  They are required to attend this court date and remain in the US until the removal proceedings are completed.  Similarly, both Jose and his wife qualify to present against removal called cancellation of removal.  The kids are not arrested because they are minor and essentially “let go.”  Legal or not legal?  What type of paper would they be able to produce to show this?  What about the kids?  The ones from Mexico? the USC kid?  How does the status of the parents factor into this equation of how much is spent to educate the US Citizen, who can, in fact, just slap a birth certificate from Missouri down for the principal to see?  What if dad wins his trial and mom doesn’t?  how does that change the equation?  What if they both win?  now what about the children who were born in Mexico?  What if the parents, after winning apply for the kids, but here is no visa available for 10 years?  How does that change?  What if they have to appeal?  What if the only “document” they have is proof of their next court date?  Will the school have to recheck the documents on that date?  Do the parents have to initiate this or does the school?  Does the school have to keep track of the dates all these visas expire and recheck to see if they get renewed on time?
4.  Alek escapes her small village in africa that practices FGM and stows away on a ship bound for the US.  She somehow manages to survive the journey and arrives in the US as a 16 year old with no parents.  She is immediately caught by immigration, given status as a Special Juvenile Immigrant or Unaccompanied Minor, and put into one of the group homes for minors.  She has a distant aunt who is finally located and takes custody of her.  She is given a court date in Missouri that she attends and has her case administratively closed until she is 18.  At this point…Legal or NOt legal?  What document would prove it?  What if she files of asylum immediately but has to wait the 120 days of processing before she has the ability to apply for a EAD, which takes 10 months to actually arrive because of mistakes by USCIS on the spelling of her name?  What if she files nothing until she is notified at age 18 that she has to go back to court?  What is her status?
5.  Jaime is a LPR and has been since he was 2 years old.  Both his parents are LPR’s and he has a USC little sister.  When Jaime is 12 his parent’s house burns down and his immigration documents along with all of his parent’s immigration documents are destroyed.  He is totally legal, but school enrollment is coming up.  How is he going to prove his status or the status of his parents?  What document is going to be sufficient?  What if the family immediately scrapes together the $1350 it will cost to replace all the LPR Cards.  The Processing time is 3-5 months.  How are they to prove their status during that time? Does the school have to keep checking? Do they get some type of pro-rated number in this equation that is going o be extrapolated from this data because they can’t prove their status for part of the year?  What if over a year later they still do not have their cards because uSCIS claims they sent the card to the address of the house that burnt down, despite the fact that a different address was written on the application?  What if there is a mistake on the new cards?
6.  Jeff is from England and is here with his family on the VWP, they decide to enroll the kids in school because Jeff is looking for a job.  they have been here for 9 months.  What document will be necessary for a child or their parents from a VWP country?  Legal or Not Legal?
7.  Kevin comes from Romania on a J visa cultural exchange bringing his son on a J3, His J requires 2 years of foreign residency after the termination of his program.  At the time Kevin enrolls his son in a Missouri School his original J will expire in 1 week.  Legal or not legal?  How is Kevin and his son calculated in the equation that supposedly tells how much money Missouri taxpayers are spending?  Does the school have to recheck in 1 week? What if it was going o expire in 2 months?  Do they need to keep track of that date?  What if Kevin meets a USC girl and they get married and she applied for AOS for both Kevin and his son as well as a waiver for the 2 year residency requirement?  They will not find out the results for months and well after the expiration of the Js.  Legal or Not?  What document is necessary?  What if they later get approved how will they be calculated in the equation?  What if they get denied?
8.  Marco was born in Germany on a Military base to a USC mom and Dad, he has a military BC and a birth abroad BC.  Are the schools going to be able to recognize these forms?  What if he was born in a German hospital rather than on the base?  What if his parents were simply on vacation? What if Mom was German who met USC Dad while dad was stationed in Germany and Dad is killed in action before the citizenship/immigration process for mom and son are finished…is Son a USC? Son comes to the US on a VWP German Passport to live with Dad’s parents and go to school…What would prove son’s status?
9.  USC man adopts a child from Cuba and officially adopts him and starts the immigration process.  After the child is given a birth certificate from Missouri listing adopted dad as the father but place of birth in Havana a lawyer submits some paperwork to  USCIS to get him residency.  The lawyer then gets disbarred and actually goes to jail for massive fraud.  The family gets an LPR card, but the lawyer, prior to him going to jail, told the family that the kid is actually a USC.  What is the son’s status?  What document is needed to prove it?
10.  Harvey comes to the US on a TN visa and brings his family.  The passport shows his visa is good for 5 years, but after a year of working at the company in Missouri he is fired.  He does not get another job in the same industry and they continue to live in Missouri?  Kids legal or no?  What documents?  What if he is in the process of getting a new job?
11.  Jack is here on an H2B and his kids and wife have the derivative visas.  The visas are good for a year but Jack gets fired.  Kids, Legal or not?  What would prove it?
12.  Maria is caught trying to cross the border to be with her husband who is dying of kidney failure and needs help managing his daily dialysis.  Maria is given a court date and attends all the courts.  While she is here in proceedings she has a baby who is a USC.  Her husband has TPS.  Her court is administratively closed when she applies for derivative status and gets denied after 2 years of waiting.  She is referred back to removal court while she appeals the TPS denial.  By this time the kid is in School.  What would the parents present to prove heir status?  Is Dad legal or no?  What about Maria?  at some point Maria gets confused about the court date and misses it.  Her and her husband receive a notice in the mail that she has been deported and needs to report to the nearest ICE office.  Once she is there ICE finds out she has no passport and the closest consulate for Honduras is in Chicago and it will take weeks to get it.  They give her instructions to report back monthly with progress reports.  Maria Legal or no?  What documents will prove this?  How is she calculated into this equation?  What if she hires an attorney and the attorney manages to get her deferred action based on her husband’s severe health condition?  Legal or Not?  What if that deferred action lasts several years? What document would she present?
13.  Jennifer and her daughter are both US Citizens born in the United States but are living in hiding from a very violent and abusive husband/father and they have no proof of their citizenship, no birth certificates and no passports.  Legal or no?  How are they going to prove it?  What if they are not USCs they entered illegally and Jennifer is married to a USC who is abusive.  Jennifer has filed a VAWA application for her and her daughter but has not left her husband yet.  Legal or no?  What documents are they going to show?  What if USC abusive husband shows up at school asking to see the proof Jennifer submitted regarding her and her daughter’s immigration status.  Can he get this information?  Who is going to protect these records?
14.  Danielle is sexually assaulted by an uncle.  She and her family are all undocumented, but they work with the police and the police agree to certify a U Visa.  They apply but have not heard anything back.  Legal or no?  What do they need to show to prove it?  Does the school have to see the application, including all the facts of the sexual assault?  Does the school need to follow up every few months to see if the case has been approved or not?
15.  Janet is an LPR.  Her mom and dad are also LPRs and when Janet is 2 her mom gets  job in Canada.  They move to Canada where they live for 7 years, periodically returning of brief vacations but living in Canada.  They do not file takes during these years in Canada.  Eventually mom has a stroke and dies and dad and the kids move back to the US.  They are allowed back in at customs without any questions.  They begin to live in Missouri at that time and continue to live there.  Kids…legal or no?  What about dad?
16.  Jose enters the US without authorization and lives here for 6 years.  He meets and marries Susan a USC and resident of Lee’s Summit, they have a child.  Susan applies for Jose for Residency, a process that takes almost 3 years.  During that time Jose is put into removal proceedings.  After over 2 yeas of going to court and processing papers with USCIS he finally has to leave for Mexico voluntarily.  He later is approved for residency and returns to Lee’s Summit.   During this time what is Jose’s Status?  How would he prove it?  What document would be necessary?  How would his status figure into the equation when he has a USC spouse?  How is the cost of educating the daughter going to be figured with one possibly not legal parent and one legal?  What if Jose is semi legal?  What if he is authorized to be present but does not have a status?  How will the formula change when Jose returns as an LPR after consular processing?
These are not even examples I had to make up but are actually clients of mine or my colleagues.  As you can see none of these situations have an easy answer and all of them are open to interpretation as to “legal” or “Not legal”  and there are many situations where the person is “not legal” but authorized to stay here.  There is not a one size fits all answer.  As much as you might wish there were there just isn’t.  This supposed formula also does not take into account how much the immigrant family is contributing to the local school system through taxes, person, property, income and sales.  Yes undocumented people pay taxes.  If you truly want some sort of meaningful number this is an extremely cumbersome and complicated process of presenting documents, determining status, monitoring things like expiration dates of visa, removal court dates, application statuses, current employment of parents and ever changing immigration policy and procedures.  We are talking an army of administrative staff, lawyers and actuaries to figure out the real number of even what you would call “illegal.”  Also to truly make this number meaningful you would have to assign different values to situations where there is one legal parent and one not, where the kids are legal but the parents are not and where someone changes status after the initial documents are submitted.  Finally after this number is determined, to be truly accurate you would really need to take that per kid cost and subtract the amount contributed by the parents in taxes.
To do what you are proposing, to truly do it, and get a number that is in the same time zone as meaningful, this is what would have to happen.  Anything less than that…well the law might as well say, just count up the Foreigners and their parents and divide by the per child cost of each district, legal or no it doesn’t really matter.  If that is what you wants, then he really should stop trying to hide behind some lofty excuse of trying to prove to the Federal Congress that they need to do something about immigration because what you are proposing is at best an ill-conceived ridiculous waste of money and resources on our already over taxed public education system thrown together by someone who clearly has no understanding of either immigration, taxes, spending or education and at worst it is exactly what it was in Alabama, a thinly veiled scare tactic to force immigrants, legal or otherwise, out of Missouri…deportation by attrition.
 So do me a favor, Mr. Kraus, if you are going to blatantly ignore the obvious problems, costs, confusion, resources and impossibility of  what you are asking for after being presented with the facts, and you are going to refuse to change your opinion after you find out your original assumptions are not correct, don’t be so intellectually dishonest as to continue to claim that you just don’t understand what the problem is or that this is going to save money or come up with a real or meaningful number.  Say what your true intention and sentiment is behind this law:  To scare immigrants out of Missouri.  Deportation by attrition and screw the costs both financially and socially.
Or do a very brave thing and change your mind…decide that passing an unfunded mandate that is so confusing, cumbersome and problematic on its face that it is going to cost more to implement that it will ever yield in real results, especially one that is guaranteed to get Missouri sued and embroiled in costly litigation that is currently being fought in several other states is not what is good for Missouri.  Stop pushing this bill and withdraw it because there are too may problems with it at the moment.  Besides the 15 example I gave you of how it is not a simple answer to a simple question, how on earth, when we are in a recession, when the state has budget shortfalls and everyone needs money, is it responsible for you as a leader to introduce a bill that has already had every single part of it struck down in other states by federal courts and is currently making its way through the courts on the dimes of the taxpayers of Arizona, Utah, Indiana, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama and expose Missouri Taxpayers to the guaranteed lawsuits and federal challenges and the millions of dollars in legal fees.  How is that responsible leadership.  This is a comedy of errors.  Please be brave enough to admit when you are wrong and fix it before we are all paying for your hubris for years.
I look forward to seeing if you can determine who is legal or not and telling me what documents are needed to prove it.
Angela L. Williams
Here is his response:
It is simple.
First, you seem to want to insert upon myself and this legislation things that are just not true.  I have no desire to fix the federal immigration issue.  That is the federal government’s job.  I have no desire to create a list of twenty eight categories and the legislation does not ask for such.  I have no desire to enter the (all too) complicated field of immigration law.  And I have no desire to harm a single person.  If you were willing to grant me those things we could start this discussion on more common ground.  However you seem to assume I have negative intent, and that won’t get us anywhere.
In your lists below, and I don’t have the time to answer each one, the answers are very simple.  First we are only asking the current citizenship status of the CHILD.  The parent’s status is not questioned or asked.  If a child was born here they have a birth certificate and can be checked off as a citizen.  If they are not citizens and have completed documents to be here legally they can be marked that way and show those documents, whatever they are.  If they do not have completed documents, even if they are in the process, they are not here legally until those documents are completed.
Will the data collected be full proof?  Of course not, no data is.  Will it give us a better estimate of costs than guesses provide by partisan groups?  Certainly.  The argument I have not heard, from any opposition, is that there is NO cost to taxpayers.  Since there is a cost, I believe taxpaying Missouri families have a right to know what that cost is.  You bring up morals but seem to only care about morality when it comes to helping non-citizens.  I applaud those efforts from a moral (if not legal) perspective.  I’m not sure why you can’t understand the moral argument on the other side that tries to protect families already here, many of whom are on the edge economically and just can’t afford the taxes they pay now, much less more.
Angela, I’d prefer to not use guesses, but the closest guess I have heard is that illegal immigrants who live in Missouri cost the state over $300 million.  That is $300 million that could go to education, social programs, and health care of OUR citizens.  How is it moral to ignore that?
My door is always open,
Will Kraus
And here is mine to this email:

Mr. Kraus-
I actually do not think you have negative intent in that you are purposefully trying to pick on Hispanics, or Indians, or what ever other immigrant there is. What I am trying to point out is that your proposal is not a simple matter of looking at a utility bill. My point is that you are trying to come up with a number that does not exist and you are proposing that public schools, who are already very overburdened, be the ones to do it with no financial support to try to help. You first claimed that you are only trying to discover the citizenship status of the child and that the parent’s immigration status is not asked. but in the law it specifically says the school must determine if the child is born outside the jurisdiction of the United States or is the child of an alien not lawfully present. It says it twice in fact. I highlighted it below.

161.245. 1. At the time of enrollment of a student in a public
2 elementary or secondary school in this state, such school shall
3 determine whether the student enrolling was born outside the
4 jurisdiction of the United States or is the child of an alien not lawfully
5 present in the United States and qualifies for assignment to an English
6 as second language class or other remedial program.
7 2. When making the determination required by subsection 1 of
8 this section, the school shall rely upon presentation of the student’s
9 original birth certificate or a certified copy thereof.
10 3. If it is determined that the student was born outside the
11 jurisdiction of the United States or is the child of an alien not lawfully
12 present in the United States upon review of the student’s birth
13 certificate or where such certificate is not available for any reason, the
14 parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the student shall notify the
15 school of the actual citizenship or immigration status of the student
16 under federal law within thirty days of the date of the student’s
17 enrollment.

How else is it going to be determined if the child is a child of an alien not lawfully present unless the status of the parents is asked? In fact, what the statute asks is for the school to determine if the kid was born outside the jurisdiction of the US OR is the child of an alien unlawfully present in the US AND qualifies for ESL or other remedial services. So you are asking the school to determine if the child falls into one of 2 categories: 1. Born outside the Jurisdiction of the US or 2. Is the child of an alien unlawfully present and also qualifies for ESL or other remedial services.

The schools are suppose to do this by looking at a copy of the kid’s birth certificate. The problem with this is that looking at a birth certificate only shows the physical location of where someone was born. It does not give any indication if the child is a citizen (unless it is a BC from the US) or if the child is the child of a person unlawfully present and in need of ESL classes or Remedial classes. Finally, the law says that if it is determined that the kid was born outside of the US or is the child of an alien unlawfully present (now no qualification that they also have to qualify for ESL or other Remedial services like there is in the first paragraph) than it appears that section 3 asks the parents to provide the immigration status of the child under federal law within 30 days. This is where it is tricky because there are in fact situations where you are authorized to be here, yet have no official status nor any document to show you do.

Since the proposed law actually says under federal law than in order to comply there has to be a different method of counting those in between because they are in fact a class unto themselves. Your assertion that if they have completed paperwork but are not finished that they are not here legally is incorrect. Really there is not “legally” or “illegally.” There is in status and out of status, and having an application pending that gives you some immediate benefit while not conferring on you an actual visa classification is a status. Under immigration law if you have applied for extension of say you B1 tourist visa and that is being processed you are not considered out of status until the application is denied even if it is pending months after your original visa has expired. Similarly, a person who, for example, has applied for a VAWA application or a U visa or Asylum or Refugee status is in a protected status that is somewhere between. If they are denied their application they are for sure back to the out of status category, but while it is pending they are in a grey area that is really neither.

I say that because they are no longer at risk, baring a serious crime, of being put into removal proceedings. Once one of those application is filed for example there is a period of time that they continue to not be authorized to work but are not in danger of removal. After that period they will be allowed to apply for a work permit but are not in a category of immigrants yet because their application has not been approved or denied. With that work card they can get a social, driver’s license, work etc but they really do not have a status yet. So they will have documents showing they can stay here but no accompanying status designation. Maybe that doesn’t matter to you and you would count them as “illegal” anyways, but it is just not accurate and it is not what the proposed law seems to ask as it says that parents/guardians will provide the immigration status of the child according to federal law. Similarly, under federal law, unless an immigration judge has found an alien to be “unlawfully present” under a certain section of the Immigration and Nationality Act than he or she is not unlawfully present. Only an immigration judge is allowed to make that determination under federal law, so if the act requires that the school be notified of the immigration status under federal law the most the parent can do is say the child, entered without inspection, overstayed a visa or status pending. It is not the cut and dry answer you want but if you are going to use federal law as the basis then there is not going to be a cut and dry answer for many of the cases.

Secondly you also claim that the law does not ask for the creation of 28 categories but that a simple legal or no is all that it requires. However in this section below it specifically requires that the state board of education complete this annual report that provides data of lawfully present aliens by immigration classification, which means under what type of visa they have. That would mean that information would need to be provided by the schools. So all those Bs and Js and Ks would have to be determined.

. (1) The state board of education shall compile and submit an
42 annual public report to the general assembly. The report shall provide
43 data, aggregated by school, regarding the numbers of United States
44 citizens, of lawfully present aliens by immigration classification, and
45 of aliens believed to be unlawfully present in the United States enrolled
46 at all primary and secondary public schools in this state.
Similarly it goes farther and asks that these same categories be specifically applied to kids who qualify for ESL, so there will be a separate analysis for the ESL kids too.

The report
47 shall also provide the number of students in each category
48 participating in English as a second language programs enrolled at such schools

It also says that the State board’s report must analyze the effect on the quality of education for other students that may have occurred, not that did, or that might occur in the future. How is that going to be determined? What if the effects on the quality of education is that all children are positively effected by going to school with students from other countries, thus exposing them to new cultures, languages and customs earlier in life making them better prepared for life in our international society and multi national world? The way this is written assumes that these kid’s presence effects education for the worst. Similarly I do no understand how these analysis can be made without some data from the classroom teachers, behavior of the children, problems with other students, time spent with them rather than citizens…
(2) The report shall analyze and identify the effects upon the
51 standard or quality of education provided to students who are citizens
52 of the United States residing in Missouri that may have occurred, or
53 are expected to occur in the future, as a consequence of the enrollment
54 of students who are aliens not lawfully present in the United States.
It also says that the report shall analyze the financial costs of providing these undocumented children with instruction, computers, textbooks, supplies, free or discounted school meals and extra curricular activities, which means that someone has to keep track of which “alien children unlawfully present in the US” are using at he very least non reusable supplies from the school, free or discounted meals and extra curricular activities. Unless you want the School board to just make up these numbers that means administration costs and monitoring costs at the school level.

) The report shall analyze and itemize the fiscal costs to the
56 state and its political subdivisions of providing educational instruction,
57 computers, textbooks and other supplies, free or discounted school
58 meals, and extracurricular activities to students who are aliens not
59 lawfully present in the United States.
You also say that since there may be even a small cost, the tax payers of Missouri need to know how much and that this formula is going to provide a better number than those provided by “partisan” groups. This report will be no different than any numbers by any partisan groups because it 1. Does not take into account taxes paid by the family of the undocumented child (at some point the child of the alien unlawfully present as well as “child of alien unlawfully present and qualifies for assignment to ESL or other remedial program, incidentally, while ESL is mentioned again, the “other remedial programs is not is just dropped from the statute)2. It doesn’t take into account any personal funds paid to the school for textbooks, extracurricular activities, field trips, fund raisers etc. 3. It inaccurately counts and improperly defines unlawfully present aliens. It is written in a way that presupposes 1. a negative effect in the quality of education for citizens (doesn’t mention or seem to care about those immigrants who have a status with a card to match) 2. a $0 contribution on the part of the unlawfully present student’s family in taxes and money given directly to the school.

It also tells the state board to make up some criteria for determining how unlawfully present aliens impact education for citizens (again not all legal student). In both cases it directs them to contract with reputable scholars to make this stuff up or analyze the data and prepare reports. So it is going to cost money at the state level to compile all this data and present it to the assembly as well as cost the schools money, time and resources to get the first level of data to the state board. That is alot of money to be spent to create a report that does not state a number any more accurately than all of these partisan reports that you claim to have. So, even using your $300 million dollar number, which I have never heard, and I eat sleep and breath this subject, we are now using this amount to educate them and adding all the costs of each school district in compiling and the state board in hiring experts to create criteria to measure how one child negatively impacts another by virtue of a status your formula may not even have gotten right and then making guesses on how it may have already effected the quality of education, how it MIGHT effect it in the future, writing all that up and presenting it to the general assembly then instituting that criteria they have been mandated to develop in all the schools. Not to mention the fact that you are not calculating the cost to Missouri tax payers of litigating this issue in federal court because we will get sued, not only by pro immigration groups and civil liberty groups like the ACLU but also by the Justice Department.

Putting aside the wisdom of this kind of law and feelings about immigration, I cannot for the life of me understand why it is being proposed when it is still being litigated. Here is a scenario that might put it into more perspective, your neighbor ripped off the side of his house to build a huge edition, spent tons of money of plans, materials and did so because the local “expert” on land use and permits told him he could do it without a permit or variance because in his untested interpretation he didn’t need one. After your neighbor has spent all this money and time and resources and got half way done, the city comes in and issues an injunction saying he has to stop because the “expert” is wrong about his untested theory. Your neighbor now has to spend more money on legal fees to fight this. You see his addition and think you would like to build one just like it so you go to him to find out who did his work, drew the plans etc. He then tells you about all the legal problems he is having with it and tells you about his untested theory as to why he is right. Maybe you agree with his interpretation, maybe not, maybe you think he might have a point but it could go either way. Whatever you opinion is, I bet you don’t choose to start ripping walls off of your own house and spending a ton of money just like your neighbor knowing you too are going to get sued, and have to stop in the middle and then spend a bunch of money on lawyers. I bet you wait and see how his own litigation turns out. If you wouldn’t do that with your own money why are you willing to do it with the tax payers you are so sure you are protecting. If nothing else it is so fiscally irresponsible to propose something you are 100% sure is going to end in a law suit that will cost millions. That is a number you can accurately predict and is readily available because you can simply look at Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama. Let them fight it out and pay for it, when the dust clears if you are still so sure that money needs to be spent to study something that cannot be changed by the states then write a law that is in accordance with what the Supreme Court decides. Missouri is not going to be a trail blazer in anti-immigrant state laws with this bill because it has all, every word, already been tried and enjoined and is currently being litigated.

So far this plan only seems to spend more money and give nothing in return. Even if we assume it will give an accurate number…so. Federal law says that all children get to go to school no matter their status. It comes to nothing except spending more money. Since you also brought up morally, I am very interest in helping all people, immigrants and citizens. It is why I am writing another too long email to someone who probably isn’t going to be swayed at 1 am. Our current national discourse on immigration is not good for anyone. Not legal immigrants, “illegal” immigrants, citizens or any of those status’ in between. It is not good for our nation, for race relations, for our appearances to the rest of the world or for our economy. One of the reasons that this kind of law so angers me and so scares me is because it is going to produce a number (one I think is meaningless, but lets assume it can be given some legitimacy) that is going to be used to further polarize this discussion. If the number comes up with some astronomical amount that we as Missourians are allegedly spending to educate undocumented children and some made up criteria that shows immigrants have a negative impact on the education of citizens it is going to further anger people, make them more intolerant to immigrants or those perceived to be immigrants and more dug in about not discussing reform. If it produces a number that is very low because, say the person we contract with actually takes into account what each immigrant family pays, and makes and evaluation that shows having many cultures in a school is a positive impact on students and the undocumented children are class leaders, act no different than the other kids and are an asset to a school and a school district, that report will be disregarded out of hand as clearly biased and skewed in favor of liberals. It is a no win situation unless what you really want is to create an environment so hostile that no immigrant wants to come here. Then it will work wonders.

believe it or not I do not want amnesty for all undocumented people. I want a system that wasn’t designed in a time when it was a HUGE deal to make an international phone call much less travel internationally. The fact that I can get on a plane within a few hours and travel to the farthest point away from Kansas City in less than 2 days and for less than my monthly mortgage or that I could order a t-shirt from that same distant place right now on the internet and have it by Friday afternoon means we have a different world and a system that desperately needs to be updated to reflect that. I know you said that you have no interest in fixing federal law because it is their job, but the problem is that this exact kind of law is what is keeping them from doing anything. Every time there has been discussion of reform since GW Bush it has been shot down by the 100% secure borders and enforcement only crowd. That is just never going to happen. We are never going to have 100% secure borders, we are never going to deport all 11 million undocumented people. If we want to fix this problem we need to be discussing solutions not pipe dreams. This type of legislation just gets people all riled up about this issue and unable or unwilling to discuss compromise or an actual workable solution. Whatever the number is, its not going to do anything positive to help Missouri nor the larger issue of our immigration problem.

It will just keep people angry and unthinking. I want this problem to have a solution. I want there to be reform that 1. Protects our national security interests 2. Promotes and allows businesses to easily recruit the best and the brightest and most degreed and talented people from all over our world to come work for our companies in this country developing the next ipad or smart car 3. Promotes and Allows businesses that need unskilled labor that they cannot find in the US to easily recruit out of the US 4. Provides avenues for these businesses to make those workers that are contributing to our economic growth a way to become permanent residents in an reasonable amount of time. 5. Values and protects the sanctity of the family by not forcing families to wait for 10+years for visas or remain separated for 10+ years 6. Acknowledges that there are people in this country that have been here for years and years, that are not committing crimes, running businesses, raising good children, working contributing paying taxes and finding some way to allow them to obtain legal status. I want to be able to deport all the criminals and have ICE agents spending the majority of their time catching traffickers and the like. I want to have those who deserve it regulate their status and pay whatever to do so. But right now and for the past 5 years or more our only discussion has been no discussion until 100% enforcement. That is just never going to work.

If you really want to save the tax payers money the push for change not a law that is going to cost a ton and give us nothing. Again I have only discussed the school. Look at Chicago’s recent decision not to hold ICE prisoners anymore because of the millions of dollars it was costing the city.

Finally, and this is the last thing I promise, well for now, while there is a provision that it shall be unlawful to disclose this information, there is no penalty for doing so. This is a very emotional issue and this kind of information in the hands of someone who does in fact have evil intent could be very dangerous to the family, the child, the other students, other people of the same race or other immigrants in general. It would just take one slip of the tongue or misplaced statement and and we could have a disaster. The fact that Senators came in yesterday to find gun targets on their doors proves that there is violence just barely contained under the surface of many people, especially on this subject. Google news articles on immigration and read the comments. They are violent and hateful. This information will end up hurting someone and there is nothing in this law that remedies that.

I do understand wanting to protect people who are on the edge as you say, but this is not going to do that. It is going to cost money in collecting this information, putting together these reports, establishing all these criteria, housing all these people waiting for ICE, prosecuting people for not having documents (I didn’t discuss that section either, but there are some real technical problems in the wording), and in the law suits that will follow if it is passed. For what? What is actually achieved by this study? A number that is inaccurate? More resentment against immigrants? Violence as a result? Maybe they will keep the kids home then there will be the social cost of having all these uneducated kids, or unsupervised kids at home afraid to go to school. Maybe they will move out, causing business to close and jobs to be left vacant. It happened in Alabama and Georgia it will happen here. This is just not the answer.

I hope that further explains my position and maybe even opens a dialogue. I was assuming that the intent was, as I said deportation by attrition or self deportation because other states that have done the same thing have openly said as such. I did not mean to imply that it was because you hated immigrants.

I would welcome further thoughts. And, actually I am very impressed that you even answered. Thank you for taking the time to do so, even if it was an aid that answered, it is the only non canned “thank you for contacting my office” response I have gotten.

Angela L. Williams

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  1. Angie Williams

    on January 30, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    Interesting I have not received a follow up after my last message as of 1/30/12 even though supposedly his door is always open.