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Miss. organizations speak out on expected immigration legislation

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 10 Apr 2013 05:05pm | comments
Photo courtesy of Lawayne Childrey

Two groups in Mississippi are expressing concerns over immigration bills expected to soon be unveiled by a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers.  

 A group of bipartisan senators have just put the finishing touches on  an immigration bill which is expected to create a pathway to citizenship for nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. However, Patrica Ice, Legal Director for the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance (MIRA) is concerned that the new proposals won’t significantly alter the way visas are currently distributed.   

"I think one of the most oppressive things is that they will have to get in line behind other peoplew who are already on the backlog list of up to 20 years, so we will have people here in all types of immigration statuses that are not permanent statuses and their futures will be uncertain," says Ice.

In order to make immigration reform meaningful, MIRA Director, Bill Chandler says it must include a way to end the so-called "guest worker" program which he says is no better than legalized human trafficking.

"Basically,  you put up with what the employer pays you ann the conditions you're working in.  If you object, you are fired and when you're fired, you lose your visa status and are forced to return to your country of origin without the money that you were promised," says Chandler.

While Chandler is concerned about the affect proposed reforms could have on Mississippi's immigrant population the same can be said for Dr. Rodney Hunt, President of the Mississippi Federation for Immigration Reform and Enforcement. Hunt says his group does not support any reform that would give a pathway to citizenship to anyone who has come to this country illegally.

"It is perplexing to me to see so-called 'other conservatives' embracing the idea of amensty and pathway to citizenship when the people that will be given pathway to citizenship will end up voting for entitlements and higher taxes," says Chandler.

The senate bill could be presented any day now however, it is expected to take several weeks to debate.   






Photo courtesy of Lawayne Childrey



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