Missouri HB 607: Discrimination in Criminal Sentencing

HB607 (Specifies that if an illegal alien commits a crime in this state, he or she must serve the entire sentence and must not receive a sentence of probation in lieu of jail time) was introduced on January 16th by Representative Chrissy Sommer (R). This bill would further deteriorate the trust between immigrants and local law enforcement, weaken due process protections in the state, and would enable ICE greater access to separate Missouri families. HB607 mandates the full enforcement of a criminal sentence for people who are undocumented and makes those individuals ineligible for probation or other judicial resolutions. This also takes power away from Missouri judges, who are embued with the powers of discretion. With prisons across the country already running (at least) 5% over capacity, this kind of legislation would increase local costs in order to meet the rates of incarceration for petty crimes, or issues such as mental health that should not be getting address in prisons.

Aligning with ifcla

This bill goes against the principle of liberation, as it employs new standards of prison time for immigrants, and takes away their freedom to live and work in their community after committing even a petty crime.  It marginalizes and threatens these communities even more as it could prevent the population from calling law enforcement in times of need, possibly penalizing an immigrant for calling law enforcement on a crime.  We need to stop the militarization tactics that law enforcement has, as it is already 5% over capacity in the prison system. Using co-responsibility, we need to welcome immigrants to safer places in our country and not threaten them if they make a mistake. 

Click here to see the talking points for this bill from our friends at Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates (MIRA).