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Mississippians React to Supreme Court Immigration Ruling

By Daniel Cherry | Published 25 Jun 2012 06:50pm | comments
Mississippians on both sides of the immigration debate are claiming victory following the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling to strike down three key provisions of Arizona's immigration law. MPB's Daniel Cherry has more on how the ruling will impact the Magnolia State.
 
 
The High Court upheld the "show me your papers" provision of Arizona's immigration law; however, the ruling does prohibit prosecution of immigrants who aren't carrying documentation, seek employment, and it prevents warrantless arrests of those suspected of being in the country illegally. Dr. Marty Wisemann is the Director of the Stennis Institute for Government at Mississippi State University. He says the decision sets guidelines for Mississippi lawmakers who want to overhaul immigration enforcement.
 
"They certainly will come back with immigration legislation in the next term, but it will be guided in large measure by the Court's holding in the Arizona case."
 
Immigration reform failed in the Mississippi legislature in the last session. One of the key arguments was that Arizona's law was under challenge and they felt it was wise to watch it play out in the courts before jumping in the battle. Dr. Rodney Hunt is President of the Mississippi Federation for Immigration Reform and Enforcement.
 
"I don't believe they can use that as an argument anymore because the Supreme Court has made a ruling, and we just have to follow what they say is acceptable for the states to do."
 
Hunt considers the ruling a victory for states' rights because the Court says states may pass their own laws as long as they're in accordance with federal policy. Bear Atwood is Legal Director of the Mississippi ACLU. She says there are multiple other challenges to the law not yet heard by the Court, and any attempt at reform in Mississippi could find itself in trouble down the road.
 
"Can you imagine what Arizona spent defending this law all the way to the Supreme Court? So there may be beating of the drums, (but) they would be foolhardy to pass a law next year."
 
The Court's ruling points out, there may be further challenges to immigration reform laws after these changes are interpreted and put into practice. Daniel Cherry...MPB News. 

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