MIRA Opposes Arizona Style Immigration Law for MississippiBy Lawayne Childrey | Published 12 Jan 2011 08:29am |
An Arizona style illegal immigration bill could receive a vote by the Mississippi State Senate as early as today. But as MPB's Lawayne Childrey reports opponents say the legislation would authorize harassment and racial profiling.
Immigrants rights advocates say the senate bill would give law enforcement officers more leeway to check whether people are in the country legally. In the capitol rotunda yesterday, nearly 200 people including members of the NAACP, ACLU and others raised their voice in protest.
Bill Chandler, Director of the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance says the bill panders to the fear, and bigotry of some of our residents.
“We need to ask ourselves what kind of state we live in, one that respects human rights or one that returns to the days of trampling on the rights of people of color? This bill will put a target on the back of all Latinos in Mississippi regardless of their immigration status.”
Bill 2179 is sponsored by Senator Joey Fillinganes of Sumrall and even though it mirrors the Arizona law Fillinganes says the bills officials title is "Support our law enforcement and safe neighborhoods act.
“And that is important for a number of reasons, employment opportunities for tax pay citizens that some non taxpaying illegal’s are currently taking. And then of course if you are here illegally and you’re not paying taxes but you are sending your kids to public schools, you are going to the public hospitals and the tax payers are bearing the burden of that and any other of the many state services that we provide.”
While the bill is supported by several high profile politicians, including Lt. Governor Phil Bryant , who's running for governor. Senator Terry Burton of Newton says there are still some concerns
“I’m not sure exactly what its gonna cost for the department of public safety, the attorney general, local sheriffs, local police chiefs to do what might be mandated in this bill. But at the same time we need to make sure that we don’t do anything where racial profiling would come into play just because of the way they look or the accent they might have.”
If the bill passes the senate it will move on to the house for possible consideration. Lawayne Childrey MPB News.
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