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Legislators aim to penalize businesses that hire illegal immigrants

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, Mo. – Businesses in Missouri that knowingly hire illegal immigrants would lose tax breaks, under an amendment added to a jobs bill in the Missouri House Wednesday.

The main bill expands tax credits for businesses that hire new workers and provide health insurance, but the amendment would strip those credits from companies that hire illegal workers.

Democratic Representative Tony George of St. Louis sponsored the amendment. He said it will not bar legal immigrants from finding work.

"But it will hopefully stop or slow down employers who make it their business to exploit folks who should not, should not be here, and should not be seeking employment in our state."

The full bill is scheduled for a final vote by the House Thursday.

Meanwhile, a series of bills that would make English the official language of Missouri stalled during the amendment process. A vote on those may not happen until next week.