Montana to Reconsider Withholding State Services to Undocumented Immigrants
Houston, TX (Law Firm Newswire) February 1, 2013 – Last November, voters in Montana passed LR-121, which prohibits some state services from being used by undocumented immigrants. The law took effect in January, 2013.
The Montana Education Association, the Montana Federation of Teachers and the Montana Immigrant Justice Alliance have teamed together to ask the courts to declare LR-121 unconstitutional, stating it will require Montana state agencies to enforce federal immigration laws, placing state agencies in a role not unlike the Department of Homeland Security. While the goal of LR-121 might have been to target undocumented immigrants who use state resources, stated Montana Immigrant Justice Alliance executive director Shahid Haque-Hausrath, it instead will create an unnecessary burden for legal Montana citizens, adding invasions of privacy, added regulatory schemes and cost.
“It is hoped that the state of Montana will find a way to meet the needs of all of its citizens,” said Houston immigration lawyer Annie Banerjee.
Critics of the law say checking people’s citizenship status prior to allowing them access to some services will place an undue burden on the system. And for people who may not have all the correct identification, the law will place an undue burden on them, as well. Citizens will have to possess a passport, or birth certificate, or other means of identification they may not have, in order to verify their status.
Montana has seen a growth in its Hispanic population, from 2 percent of the state’s population in 2000 to 3 percent in 2009. Though a small percentage compared to the nation (Hispanics make up some 15.8 percent of the nation’s population, according to U.S. Census counts), the rise is enough to cause apprehension among some Montana citizens. Another fear is people entering the state illegally from Canada; Montana shares a border of more than 500-miles in the north with three Canadian provinces. Immigrations officials counter that the main worry with the border is drug importation, not illegal immigration.
The case to declare LR-121 unconstitutional is now sitting before Helena District Court Judge Jeffrey Sherlock.
Annie Banerjee is a Houston immigration lawyer specializing in helping people become United States citizens. The law offices assist in visas and other legal immigration requirements as well. To learn more, visit http://www.visatous.com.
Law Offices of Annie Banerjee
131 Brooks Street, Suite #300
Sugar Land, Texas 77478
Phone: (281) 242-9139
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