Montana is another state that we haven’t heard much buzz about on the immigration front over the last few months.
It also came as a surprise when Maine and Kentucky jumped to the head of the pack of states passing their own crackdowns on illegal immigration. The heavyweights like Georgia, Arizona, and Oklahoma are still plodding along like turtles.
In Montana, a bill that would deny worker’s compensation benefits to illegal aliens, House Bill 178, has cleared the House Judiciary Committee and is on its way to a full vote in the Montana House. The bill would also require the state government to check applicants for driver’s licenses against a federal database.
In the final showdown over the DREAM Act, Democratic Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus of Montana provided decisive votes that killed the bill. DREAM Act supporters were unable to peel off enough Republicans to compensate for Democratic defections in the Red States.
Montana is surprisingly more sensitive to immigration issues than one would expect given the low numbers of illegal aliens who are living there. What is even more surprising is that the state is pushing through a bill that would require checking a federal database to issue driver’s licenses.
Montana, well known for its libertarian streak, has been a noteworthy opponent of the national id card.
“Don’t Tread on Me” doesn’t seem to apply to Mexicans who are illegally residing in Montana. ICE can swoop in there with black helicopters and deport the bastards.
Montanans don’t seem to care.
It is also worth noting that Chuck Baldwin, who ran for President on the Constitution Party ticket in 2008 (I voted for him in that election), is gearing up to run for Governor of Montana. Baldwin wants to pass an Arizona-style immigration law in Montana and confront the federal government on the issue.
As Montana’s chief executive, Baldwin said he would also reject the federal government in the manner of Arizona’s adoption of a strict and controversial immigration law, which is being challenged by the U.S. Justice Department.
“We need a governor who will do whatever (Arizona Gov.) Jan Brewer did about whatever the issue is,” Baldwin said. “Draw that line in the sand, but then, just take it the next step and say, ‘We don’t care what the Supreme Court says.’”
“That’s what states have the power to do,” he added. “They have the power under God, don’t you see?”
If you live in Montana, please contact your state legislators and tell them to support this modest bill. It’s not everything we want, but it will help lay the foundation for tougher legislation in the future, and it will prevent Montana from becoming a magnet for illegals fleeing other states.
Montana has a Democratic governor and a Democratic state legislature. They will have to be pressured to do the right thing. We can’t afford to sit back and let the Republicans take care of this one.