Thanks to all the Precious Blood Missionaries and Companions for their prayerful support and monetary contributions this past Tuesday for Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates Lobby Day. Your help meant twenty five of us from the Kansas City Metro could lobby on behalf of immigrants. I especially enjoyed being on the same team as Juan Martinez (an employee of Precious Blood Center) for the third year in a row. We had a busy day talking with our state senators and representatives.
As we advocated in the Capitol Building in Jefferson City, we spoke mainly to the issues of racial profiling and legislation hurting immigrant students. We opposed bills that were trying to direct educational institutions to charge immigrant students out-of-state tuition based on their immigration status rather than their actual residency, or denying many lawfully present immigrant students access to financial aid while forcing them to pay international tuition rates. We voiced our opposition to legislation allowing undue harassment of immigrants who are getting pulled over by police for no reason and getting their drivers licenses revoked solely because of their immigration status. We supported the legislation trying to pass the Missouri Tuition Equity Act, which would allow students to pay tuition rates based on their residency, not their immigration status. We were also in favor of the Fair and Impartial Policing Act of 2015 which fights racial profiling and biased policing by making changes to the way profiling data is collected by the state. It would require police departments to adopt anti-profiling policies and encourage police-community accountability. I was grateful to see this legislation come forward given what I had seen in Ferguson, MO this past year.
As usual during these lobby days, we talked to representatives for and against the issue. My team appreciated the support of Representative John Rizzo who represents the Northeast side of Kansas City. This area has many new immigrants and John remembers well that he is a third generation Italian immigrant representing that population. On the other hand, we were disappointed in our newly elected representative from Liberty, Representative Nick King. He was against the legislation we were promoting and did not seem supportive to struggling immigrants
Daryl Charron, C.PP.S.