Mississippi legislators hold hearings on proposed immigration laws
By Greg Janetka
JACKSON, Mississippi: The Mississippi State Senate's Judiciary A committee held two days of hearings this week in order to discuss if proposed changes in immigration law are necessary. Several lawmakers have stated that they would either propose or support legislation in the 2011 session that is similar to the Arizona law. Opponents say that it could lead to harassment of legal residents and racial profiling. Mississippi is one of 28 states considering such a law.
Speakers at the hearings included leaders of the ACLU, NAACP, and the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance, along with local sheriffs and former legislators. Lawmakers attempted to go after businesses who employ illegal immigrants in 2008, when they enacted the Mississippi Employment Protection Act, also referred to as the E-Verify law. Under this law, all companies in the state with over 30 employees must check the legal status of potential workers using the E-Verify system. However, testimony at the hearings revealed that there has been no investigation into whether companies are actually complying with the law.
Mississippi is not holding any legislative elections in 2010, but immigration law is shaping up to be a major issue in the state's 2011 elections.