The Missouri Legislature has their heart in the right place. Unfortunately, their head is in all-too familiar territory.
Once again the Legislature is trying to address the issue of illegal immigrants. A new bill gained widespread approval this week that would bar employers from receiving state tax credits who "knowingly" hire illegal immigrants. On the surface this bill is certainly pointed in the right direction. But the provision that employers must "knowingly" hire illegals is nothing more than a game.
The controversial issue of illegal immigration is a two-edged sword. The first problem includes those who illegally enter this country. The second part involves those employers who then hire these illegal workers. Both sides of this issue must be addressed with appropriate penalties.
But a watered-down version that allows employers who "unknowingly" hire illegal workers is a fraud. Believe me, there would not be one employer in the state who would admit to "knowingly" violating the law with a company's hiring practices. It's ludicrous to think otherwise.
As long as we tiptoe around the immigration issue we'll make little meaningful progress. And someday - perhaps soon - the problem will be far beyond our control. When that day arrives, we will regret the tepid actions we took today.
The Missouri Legislature has tremendous power to propel our state forward. With this bill unfortunately, they have come up woefully short.