The Missouri Senate’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Immigration held its final meeting Thursday. Among the issues discussed was legislation that would require driver’s license exams be given in English only.
Sister Peggy Bonnot runs El Puente Hispanic Ministry in Jefferson City. She told the panel that requiring English-only driver’s license tests would create a hardship for legal immigrants trying to build a life here.
“People have difficulty getting to church, they have difficulty getting to English classes, ESL, and also citizenship classes. We need to look at the broad picture and look at those things that are going to enhance our community,” says Bonnot.
Another advocate told the Senate panel that inflammatory rhetoric by some lawmakers has impacted the way immigrants are treated in Missouri, and suggested that House and Senate leaders privately ask them to tone it down. But panel chairman, GOP Senator John Lamping of St. Louis County, says that would border on violating free speech rights.