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Lynch questioned on Missouri's response to illegal immigration of Central American children
Lynch questioned on Missouri's response to illegal immigration of Central American children

State Rep. Steve Lynch fields questions from local Republicans on illegal immigration.
PULASKI COUNTY, Mo. (June 21, 2014) — When speaking to local audiences, State Rep. Steve Lynch typically fields questions about state-level issues. However, at Saturday’s meeting of the Pulaski County Republican Women’s Club, several questioners asked him what plans Missouri has in place to cope with a possible influx of Central American children.

Those children, who in some cases are seeking refugee status but often are being considered illegal immigrants, are being moved from overwhelmed immigration facilities in Texas to other states such as California, and sometimes are being housed on military installations.

With the Missouri legislature out of session, there’s not much lawmakers can do, Lynch said, and any action is likely to fall to Gov. Jay Nixon as head of the state’s executive branch.

Some questioners asked how Missouri would handle an influx of children who may not have their immunizations and could overwhelm American schools.

“Who’s going to take care of the medical expenses?” one audience member asked. “We really need to start hollering now, let’s not wait until the barn door is open.”

“This isn’t something new but it’s escalated,” another person said. “We can’t continue to hide our heads in the sand.”

Additional problems involve human trafficking and sexual abuse of girls and young women, audience members said.

Lynch said he didn’t have good answers.

“I’ll try to see if I can get you some information,” Lynch said.

In other comments, Lynch said “the governor is beating up on us on some tax credits that he says we have to special interest folks at the very last hour of the session.”

The Republican House Caucus will meet in August to decide how to handle Nixon’s vetoes, many of which are of bills related to tax credits.

“We’re going to look at this very closely,” Lynch said. “I would tell you this because we feel like sometimes we need to defend ourselves…. We have looked at those bills very closely and will continue to look at them. All the amendments on those bills, the inference is they were put on there without really looking at them. All of those were vetted through committees. A lot the amendments or really most of the amendments were bills that were put on as amendments.”

Lynch also disputed Nixon’s claim that the bills benefit special interests.

“One bills there is to have a sales tax exemption for used vehicles that are over 10 years old,” Lynch said. “There’s a lot of opinion on whether that is good or bad. But you can look at it this way: You paid the sales tax on it when you bought it and someone else has to pay the sales tax on it again when you sell it.”

Drawing from his own family business experience running a furniture store, Lynch said that doesn’t make sense.

“The government is very good and creative of creating taxes… how do you call that a special interest group?” Lynch asked. “The governor likes to have something to beat up on us during the summer when we are not there but he didn’t have much to go on this year. It was a very, very good year for Republicans this year in the legislature.”

Loretta Rouse, the Pulaski County Public Administrator, asked Lynch to address the question of Republican unity in the legislature.

“We had a lot more meetings this year where our caucus would get together on the issues that were coming up, and we would talk it through,” Lynch said. “That is one of the major reasons we got so much done that we were really working together… it was really enjoyable to be a part of that when last year some of the caucus meetings I dreaded going to.”

“Quit listening to the press because they’re not going to do anything but tear you apart,” one audience member advised Lynch, with other audience members urging Lynch to remember the spirit of unity and common purpose which she said was common in America following the 9/11 terrorist attack.

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