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Missouri State Legislature Pursing Budget Busting Solutions to Immigration

Anti-Immigrant Bill SB590 Will Cost the State Millions

Released on Tue, Jan 31, 2012

Washington D.C. – As Missouri faces a $704 million shortfall in fiscal year 2012, state legislators are currently pursuing a costly and short-sighted anti-immigrant law. Senate Bill 590 is similar to the immigration law passed in Alabama and is currently working its way through the state legislature. The costs associated with the bill are unknown because the fiscal note attached to it is woefully incomplete. According to the Missouri fiscal note, the law would cost taxpayers $156,000 the first year, and $43,000 in subsequent years, primarily for recording and reporting the immigration status of Missouri’s school children.  However, the fiscal note claims that the provisions to detain, arrest, jail, and prosecute suspected unauthorized immigrants will have no additional costs.   The note further claims the costs for enforcement activities will be “absorbed with existing resources,” meaning that resources will be diverted away from other important law enforcement activities.

Other states pursuing similar measures, such as Kentucky and Utah, have estimated the costs, which reach into the tens of millions of dollars. Aside from the costs of implementation there are whopping costs for defending these measures in court. Missouri legislators should consider the following evidence before final votes on SB 590.

  • Anti-immigrant laws can cost states hundreds of millions of dollars to implement and defend. Read about the economic realities here.
  • Laws similar to SB 590 have harmed state economies.  According to Prof. Samuel Addy at the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Alabama, Alabama’s immigration law will reduce the state’s economy by $40 million.  Read more about the harmful impact on the economy here.
  • State immigration control laws are unnecessary and misguided. Read more about it here.

Also consider that immigrants bring benefits to the Show Me State. Immigrants – including unauthorized immigrants – are workers, taxpayers, and consumers, and contribute to the state’s economy. Unauthorized immigrants in Missouri paid $50.2 million in state and local taxes in 2010, according to data from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy.  If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Missouri, the state would lose $2.3 billion in economic activity, $1.0 billion in gross state product, and approximately 13,859 jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time, according to a report by the Perryman Group.

For more information about the economic benefits immigrants bring to Missouri see this state fact sheet.

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For more information contact Wendy Sefsaf at wsefsaf@immcouncil.org or 202-507-7524.

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