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Lawmakers Gearing Up for Immigration Reform Battle

By Daniel Cherry | Published 23 Aug 2012 07:14pm | comments
Mississippi lawmakers are gearing up for a fight over immigration reform in next year's legislative session. Yesterday Governor Phil Bryant issued a statement reaffirming a law preventing undocumented immigrants from receiving public benefits. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports some state leaders are ready to push for immigration reform.
 
House Judiciary Committee B heard testimony from those for and against immigration reform for about four hours yesterday in a packed committee room at the state Capitol. Representative Becky Currie from Brookhaven authored an immigration enforcement bill last session. It failed but she's ready to try again.
 
"They need to pay taxes. They need to have all the things that we have to have, and if you want to live here legally and do what's right, work hard...welcome to Mississippi."
 
Recent rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court and a federal appeals court blocked several key provisions of Arizona and Alabama's immigration laws. Judiciary B Chairman, Andy Gipson says lawmakers will have to take a close look at those rulings while drafting Mississippi's legislation.
 
"We're going to have to look at it to make sure we guarantee there's no Constitutional violation, that we're not profiling anyone. It's got to be strictly about public safety, and it's got to be about employment compliance under our E-Verify law."
 
Bishop Joseph Latino with the Catholic Diocese of Jackson, says if any laws are passed he hopes they're fair to all people living in Mississippi.
 
"But a comprehensive law that does not exclude anyone or make it impossible for anyone to come here and to seek a better life for themselves, their children and their families."
 
President Obama issued an executive order earlier this year offering deportation deferral to certain immigrants, but the order does not prevent states from passing their own immigration reform laws.

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