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Mississippians React To Immigration Policy Change

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 15 Jun 2012 04:19pm | comments
Immigrant rights protestors demonstrate the capitol during the 2012 legislative session.

Immigrant rights advocates in Mississippi are clashing with supporters of tougher immigration laws over a recent change in federal immigration policies. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports the Obama administration is no longer deporting some undocumented some young people who were brought to the US by their parents.

The immigrants have to meet certain guidelines such as being brought to the U-S before they were 16 and living in the U-S continuously for five years.

The change could help families like Irma's who is an undocumented immigrant living in Jackson with three children, one of whom was born in Mexico.

Irma says her children have spent more than a decade in America, they speak more English than Spanish, and she worries about their future in the United States.

"We just keep doing it. We just cannot give up. And I do hope, even though I am fearful for the future, I really do hope that here they will have a better future and better opportunities. So we will just continue to do our very best and we are not giving up," Irma said.

Advocates of the policy change, like Bill Chandler with the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance, says it can alleviate those fears, especially for children that have come to see the US as home.

"Many of the children have aged up and are young adults and have acclimated if not totally adjusted to the American culture," Chandler said.

Chandler would still like to see this rule made law, because this change is an executive order that could be dropped by future administrations.

The decision has angered some in Mississippi who want to see immigration laws more strictly enforced.

"We look at this whole thing and we say this is outrageous,"

Roy Nicolson with the Mississippi Tea Party says the president has overstepped his constitutional bounds by picking and choosing which laws to enforce.

"That is the responsibility of congress to express in its legislation. It is also the responsibility of our judiciary to review the law. The executive branch, their job is to execute the will of the congress," Nicholson said.

Nicholson believes the decision will actually drive more Mississippians to support tighter immigration laws that have stalled in the state legislature.

The rule change is expected to affect 800-thousand illegal immigrants around the country, but it is not clear how many reside in Mississippi.

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Immigrant rights protestors demonstrate the capitol during the 2012 legislative session.


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