by Ivan Foley
It’s an issue Sarah Steelman is hearing--and speaking--about as she travels the state in her campaign to be the Republican nominee for governor.
Steelman made an appearance in Platte County on Tuesday afternoon, speaking for a short time to a gathering in the Platte County Administration Building. Illegal immigration was her featured topic in her 30-minute appearance.
“Missouri workers are losing jobs and Missouri taxpayers are footing the bill because of people in our state illegally. That is wrong and as governor I will put a stop to it,” said Steelman, who has served as Missouri’s state treasurer since being elected to that position in 2004.
She said as state treasurer she took a decisive stand on the issue, blocking an employer who was using illegal workers on a state housing project from receiving state tax credits, and enacting numerous policies to further crack down on the problem.
“We must sanction the employer and take away the incentive to hire illegal workers,” Steelman said. “Why do we allow people to break that law? If we don’t respect the laws in this country we’re going to be in deep trouble.”
She said as governor she would make cracking down on illegal workers a priority and would “take all steps necessary to correct it.” Proposals she announced on Tuesday included:
•Policies mandating deportation of sex and violent criminals who are illegal aliens. Steelman’s proposal will require Missouri law enforcement to search the state sex offender registry and violent criminal records for illegal aliens. Working with federal ICE agents, matched offenders will be subject to immediate deportation.
•Any tax payments received by the Missouri Department of Revenue that do not match legitimate Social Security records and employment documentation will be audited and investigated and will be referred to the IRS and ICE for further investigations of employees and employers.
•Prohibition of the use of the Matricula consular card as a form of identification in our state. This foreign issued card can be used for identification in our country by illegal aliens. Steelman’s proposal would prohibit that practice in Missouri.
•Insisting on tough laws that make sure employers don’t use illegal workers, including meaningful financial sanctions against employers who knowingly hire illegal workers.
Steelman commended the work of the Missouri Senate on this issue in the recently passed SB 858, which included many provisions she supports, including no driver’s licenses, public assistance, or college tuition for illegal aliens.
Steelman will face fellow Republican Ken Hulshof, who currently serves as a Congressman from Missouri’s Ninth District, in the August primary election. The winner will take on the presumptive Democratic nominee for governor, current state attorney general Jay Nixon.
Platte County was one of several stops Steelman made in the region on Tuesday, with others being in Liberty, Excelsior Springs and Kansas City.
Steelman lives in Rolla with her husband, David, and their three sons.