Separated by 1200 miles and bordering Canada, one would not think that the state of Montana would have a problem with illegal aliens. However according to the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform, illegal aliens cost the state of Montana about $32 million a year, which is the lowest of any state in the nation. In today’s struggling economy $32 million is a big chunk of change.
Since the federal government refuses to enforce all the immigration laws and take action to protect the United States from the invasion of millions of illegals, a number of states including Montana have found it necessary to take action themselves.
A year ago LR 121, a measure to deny all state services to illegal aliens, was passed by a 79.5% approval of the voters. This would include all those covered under Pres. Barack Obama’s illegal dream act which allowed 800,000 illegal aliens to remain in the US illegally and obtain work permits, drivers’ licenses, and other state benefits. Under LR 121 none of those illegals would be able to receive such benefits from the state of Montana.
Now a second measure, labeled House Bill 50, has been introduced into the Montana state legislature. HB 50 if passed will prohibit any city, town or municipality of any kind from establishing a sanctuary status for illegal aliens. If any city tries to establish themselves as a sanctuary for illegals, under HB 50, state funds will be withheld from them. The bill is currently in the Montana House Judiciary Committee and is scheduled to be voted on soon.
HB 50 reads in part:
“A local governing body may not enact, adopt, implement, or enforce a sanctuary policy and may not refer a sanctuary policy to the elect doors of the governing body’s jurisdictional area.”
One of the bill supporters, State Rep. Krayton Kerns (R-Laurel), told reporters:
“We like to be a favorable place for legal aliens, legal residence and all citizens…[however] we are trying to be an unfavorable place to illegal aliens.”
State Rep. David Howard (R-Park City), the sponsor of HB 50 said the purpose of the bill is to create a defense within the state of Montana which makes it an undesirable place for illegals to come to.
A similar bill was introduced in the last state legislature only to be vetoed by then Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer. No one is sure what the new governor, Democrat Steve Bullock, will do if the bill reaches his desk for signature. In my opinion if Bullock vetoes this bill, the sponsors and supporters of HB 50 need to get it placed on the ballot for the next state election and let the people of Montana vote on it like they did the last immigration bill.
Other states like Arizona and Alabama have taken other measures to deter illegal aliens and many of those measures have worked and numbers have been reduced. I would like to see every state have similar laws like those of Montana, Arizona and Alabama. If they did then perhaps we wouldn’t have to worry so much about the thousands of miles of our nation’s border that the Obama administration refuses to protect and secure.