You routinely see Republican politicians going to the banks of the Rio Grande and filming a few of the hundreds of people a day illegally crossing into the U.S. where the American taxpayers spend millions of dollars of their hard-earned dollars to take care of them.
Well, late last year, The Missouri Times showed how Missouri Republicans who are honestly interested in illegal immigration can save a ton of money. They don’t have to drive all the way to the banks of the Rio Grande; they can just drive to the banks of the Missouri in O’Fallon to see illegal immigration with no one trying to hide it, rubbing it right in the ruby-red Republican county’s face.
On my last “This Week in Missouri Politics” of the year, I asked Attorney General Eric Schmitt if he still believed, as former President Donald Trump does, that illegal immigration is a serious problem in our country. He said that indeed he does. So logically I asked him what a regular Missourian should do if they agreed with both the attorney general and President Trump that illegal immigration is really a problem and see it brazenly happening in their communities.
His response: “Call the Department of Labor.”
When I went to see the folks at the department, I essentially learned what I suspected: While Republicans talk tough on illegal immigration, and while I believe they are being sincere when they are saying it, in reality there really isn’t much follow-through at the bureaucracy level to actually do anything about their rhetoric.
The folks at the department were very nice but essentially said they did not currently have an organization to stop the problem. Then I reminded them that Gov. Mike Parson believed illegal immigration was such a serious problem that he sent troops to the border under the previous administration. And I played a clip of Attorney General Schmitt’s comments.
Now here is the part where typically folks blame the bureaucracy, but I really don’t think they are solely to blame. Of course, they have heard Republicans endless talking about illegal immigration, but they have to have some statutory and budgetary authority to do anything about it.
After a couple of days, they put their heads together and told me that they suggested that a particular type of complaint be filed, but of course, the complaint would be confidential and not subject to the sunshine law.
So I decided to file the complaint myself. I figured that I could ask about my own complaint and later tell y’all about it.
That evening, I was telling my plan to a few folks, and that’s when a white knight stepped up. But like all things with this story, it’s a little backward.
Now anyone who watches the legislature with any regularity will see the deluge of bills filed by St. Charles County legislators trying to “help” their neighbors in St. Louis.
Well, this time the white knight who stepped up to help regular hard-working folks in St. Charles County whose jobs were being decimated by illegal immigration that the state was doing nothing to stop … is Rep. Jim Murphy … from St. Louis County.
That’s right. In keeping with the bizarreness of this story, it was a St. Louis County legislator that is crossing the river to help his neighbors in St. Charles County.
So when I showed back up with my complaints in hand, I had a little help. A little help with a big gold pin with the state seal on his lapel.
We came in with our complaint all filled out against a Texas company called BMC, Ramos Drywall Specialists LLC out of Arkansas, and Smith Carpentry out of Michigan — along with the link to the story documenting the brazenly illegal activity happening right in St. Charles County.
Now if you watch “This Week in Missouri Politics,” then you know Rep. Murphy is one of the most quotable people in the state so I asked him to give me this one:
“The Missouri Times discovered what was going on in St. Charles County. What was going on was wrong for two reasons: One, they were not following the laws of Missouri, and they were adversely affecting Missouri workers because they were hiring illegal immigrants. But worse yet, these illegals, not only do they do a good job, but they were being bussed in every day and were being paid under the table at less than standard wages. As far as I’m concerned, this is slave labor. They’re being abused by this. It’s up to the Department of Labor to get to the bottom of this and make it stop.
I was happy to sign it. I followed up three times with the department in the last two days with the liaison. He promises me he will get me a report on what’s going on but there’s been no report yet.”
Like I said, the most quotable man in the Missouri Republican Party.
We’re getting up on a month since those complaints were filed. I reckon I’ll start asking the department next week if St. Charles County is actually a sanctuary county, or maybe the better question to ask: Is Missouri a sanctuary state?
Now speaking of the Missouri Republican Party, luckily they are having their annual statewide Lincoln Days in St. Charles this year — approximately 9 miles from the job site of the brazen, in-your-face, not trying to hide it illegal immigration. I wonder if any simple hillbillies will be there to offer them a ride in an F-150 to a place where they don’t have to endlessly talk about mass illegal immigration. They can see if right from the interstate. I think there just might be.
We have a great “This Week in Missouri Politics” coming up this week from the Capitol after the State of the State, and in this week’s “Show Me Missourah,” we chatted all about Missouri history with former Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and federal Judge Stephen Limbaugh.
Scott Faughn is the publisher of The Missouri Times, owner of the Clayton Times in Clayton; SEMO Times in Poplar Bluff; and host of the only statewide political television show, This Week in Missouri Politics.