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Missouri committee to crack down on illegal immigrant crimes

Man giving money subtly to his partner who is holding a pistol at his hip
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Man giving money to his partner for murder

The Missouri House of Representatives has formed a special committee to look into what the House Speaker refers to as crimes committed by immigrants living illegally in Missouri.

The formation of this committee has sparked a debate between those who see it as a necessary step for public safety and those who view it as a misuse of resources driven by political motives.

House Speaker Dean Plocher - R-St. Louis County - said he's convinced this committee's findings will increase the safety of Missourians.

"The message needs to be," said Plocher, "'If you're not here in the state of Missouri legally, you're going to be detained - and you're going to be deported if you're committing crimes.'"

Data provided by Customs and U.S. Border Protection show last year, there were more than 1,200 violent crimes by committed non-citizens in the U.S. nationwide, and more than 2,000 related to drug trafficking and possession.

The first committee hearing will be in Jefferson City on July 11.

State Rep. David Tyson Smith - D-Columbia - said this isn't an issue in Missouri, and believes the committee is a waste of time and resources. He said it's all being done for political talking points.

"If we are really serious about these issues," said Smith, "we would form a special committee on gun violence to crack down on the shootings that are happening all over our state, that need to be clamped down on."

Studies have repeatedly shown that immigrants - legal and illegal - are more law abiding than people born here.

Research from The Marshall Project has found no correlation between undocumented immigrants and a rise in violent crimes.

However, some committee members believe people living in the U.S. illegally are to blame for an increase in Fentanyl and sex trafficking.

Born and raised in Canada to an early Pakistani immigrant family, Farah Siddiqi was naturally drawn to the larger purpose of making connections and communicating for public reform.
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