Immigrants, Opponents Protest Immigration Reform LegislationBy Daniel Cherry | Published 22 Feb 2012 07:26pm |
Opponents to immigration reform are hoping to send a strong message to lawmakers. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how many believe, if passed, the legislation would lead to profiling and force Hispanics leave Mississippi.
Bills are in front of lawmakers in both the Mississippi House and Senate that are aimed at tightening restrictions on undocumented immigrants. About 100 protesters rallied at the Capitol yesterday against the legislation.
Alfredo Berduro is from Guatemala. He's lived and worked in Carthage for 11 years. He says, through an interpreter, all he wants is a chance to give his children a good life.
"There's a lot of violence in our countries and our families are suffering. We want to ask the Senators and Congressmen to help because we are here really to work."
Those who support the bills say it's in the best interest of Mississippians. A University of Alabama study says Alabama's law cost the state billions of dollars. Mississippi Representative Becky Currie who authored House Bill 488, says she sees the numbers differently.
"Alabama's unemployment went from 10% to 8% in six months since this bill took effect. Those are hard numbers to fight too."
Currie says Mississippi spent at least 120 million dollars last year on undocumented immigrants. But for her opponents like Bill Chandler, Executive Director of the Mississippi Immigrant's Rights Alliance, the legislation is short-sighted.
"We don't want to see that happen here. The Latinos, the immigrants contribute tremendously to the economy of the State of Mississippi."
Supporters say if the federal government won't do their part to enforce immigration laws, Mississippi will have to pick up the slack.
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