LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- A Missouri Senate bill designed to take a count of undocumented students is creating controversy, as dozens of Kansas City churches have signed on to a letter in opposition to the bill, saying that they believe that the bill is not only unconstitutional, it's also against their faith.
Missouri Sen. Will Kraus, a Republican from Lee's Summit, says that his bill isn't trying to "out" undocumented workers and their families. Instead, he says that it only aims to take a count of their numbers.
"The legislation is very clear," said Kraus. "This list is not to identify any individual as much as it is to identify the cost of the education."
But a group of 50 metro church leaders with the Immigrant Justice Advocacy Movement gathered on Thursday to sign a letter condemning the legislation. They say that everyone should be treated fairly, regardless of their immigration status.
"The Bible offers us many references about the love that we ought to have toward our foreign neighbors who live among us," said Rev. Geovanna Chavez Huffman of Revolution Church.
A companion bill would require the Missouri Attorney General to sue the federal government to reimburse the state for the total cost of educating the children of illegal immigrants.
Kraus says that he hopes the legislation will end up on the Senate floor for debate in the next couple weeks.