Missouri Senate Joint Resolution 18: Show Me Your Papers 

In 2010, Arizona’s infamous SB1070 Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act passed and has been trying to be replicated in numerous states. This year, the Missouri legislature has introduced parallel legislation: SJR18: Creates new requirements relating to the verification of the immigration status of certain persons. “Show me your paper” states have been shown to not only be unsafe for the immigrant communities, but also to be bad for the economy of the state.

Sponsored by Missouri Senator Mike Cunningham (R), SJR18 would give power to law enforcement officials to ask for the immigration status, “where reasonable suspicion exists.” It would also require the verification of immigration status upon release from jail. Valid forms of ID include: valid Missouri drivers license, valid Missouri non-drivers license, or a valid US, state, local or government-issued ID.

Unlike other harmful anti-immigrant legislation proposed this year, SJR18 follows a slightly different path: this is a joint resolution to amend the state constitution and, if it passes both chambers, would end up on the ballot for Missouri voters to decide in November 2020.

Aligning with IFCLA

IFCLA joins several partners in opposition to this bill, including the ACLU of Missouri. Sara Baker, the organization’s legislative and policy director, said this about Sen. Cunningham’s racist bill:

“SJR 18 would turn Missouri into a ‘show me your papers’ state and increase discrimination against Missouri’s vibrant immigrant community. As law enforcement leaders across the country have explained, it’s impossible to enforce laws like this without profiling people by race, color, or ethnicity. Instead of building trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve, this bill will drive a wedge between the two.”

Passage of SJR18 would not only mandate racial profiling of people of color, but it would also take away from their liberation and freedom in the US. Constant questioning about one’s identity leads to problems in mental health and fear of leaving home. The dignity of migrants is destroyed when undocumented and documented immigrants become targets of race-based political games, in violation of equal protection and due process.

We oppose SJR18!

bill tracking

Our partners at the Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates (MIRA) are tracking this bill as it progresses through the legislature and have prepared helpful talking points on SJR18, which are available online here.