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Religious Leaders Come Out Against Mississippi Illegal Immigration Bill

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 29 Mar 2012 06:16pm | comments
Religious leaders say the bill could harm religious freedom.

A group of religious leaders are re-stating their opposition to an anti-illegal immigration bill in the Mississippi Senate. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports representatives from several faiths believe the bill could harm religious freedom and lead to racial profiling.

Clergy from Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist groups are voicing opposition to a bill in the senate intended to tighten Mississippi's illegal immigration laws.

Joseph Latino, the bishop of the Jackson Dioceses, says the bill could hurt the Catholic Church's goals of fighting for family unity and human dignity.

"We believe a patchwork of state laws could inhibit the church's mission to serve immigrations thus impinging upon religious freedom," Latino said.

While acknowledging there is need for immigration reform in the U-S, Bishop Ronnie Crudup of New Horizon Church in Jackson says this bill is not the remedy.

"This law certainly will cause racial profiling to go up. Not only for people of Hispanic decent but for people of color in general. So we oppose this bill the way it is written," Crudup said.

Supporters of the legislation say it is an attempt to fix an illegal immigration problem the federal government hasn't addressed.

Governor Phil Bryant supports the bill saying he is baffled by opposition.

Thursday was the second straight day of opposition protests and Lt. Governor Tate Reeves says he is listening closely to their concerns.

"You have seen such diverse groups as the Poultry Association and the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation. And then (Wednesday) the Mississippi Economic Council. Our state Chamber of Commerce came out in opposition of the bill as it passed the House. And that concerns me greatly," Reeves said.

Reeves referred the bill to the judiciary B committee and says he will wait to see what the committee does with the bill.

Committees in the legislature are facing a Tuesday deadline to act on bills.

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Religious leaders say the bill could harm religious freedom.


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