Local government officials and law enforcement say they don't have the resources to enforce an immigration reform law.

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Groups Ask Senators to Kill Immigration Bill

By Daniel Cherry | Published 28 Mar 2012 05:13pm | comments

Law enforcement and business leaders are asking the Mississippi Senate to strike down a controversial immigration reform bill. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how they say the resources just aren't there to enforce the legislation.

Business leaders, county and city government officials, and law enforcement officers rallied yesterday, calling on senators to kill House Bill 488. Todd Kemp is the Sheriff of Clarke County. He says he supports immigration enforcement, but he wants to have a say in the matter.

"We want one that's funded. We want a little input within the law. We were not consulted at all. As far as I know, not any law enforcement was consulted unless it was the state."

Kemp says the state isn't funding the proposed law, so that cost will be a burden on local law enforcement and taxpayers. Robert Russell the Ellisville Police Chief says their jail is already almost full, and that means officers would have to make some tough decisions about who to arrest.

"It's going to get to the point to where either you detain a man who's working and trying to provide a better life for his family. Or you detain a dope dealer or somebody with a suspended driver's license or something like that."

As of July 1st of last year, all Mississippi employers must check employees through the federal government's e-verify system to ensure legal status. That's why Mark Leggett, President of the Mississippi Poultry Association says this legislation is just another hurdle for poultry growers.

" They can't afford to hire illegals. Most of them are public companies, and they're going to follow the law. And they want everybody else to follow the law. Our point is: We know the law. We don't need anymore. Don't add burdens to us."

Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves says he's sent the bill to Senate Judiciary Committee B for consideration. If it passes the Senate, it goes to Governor Bryant's desk, and Bryant has long supported such legislation.




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