$25,000 fine for hiring illegal immigrants attacked, defended

The Mississippi House on Thursday passed a version of an illegal immigration bill that provides for fines of up to $25,000 a day on businesses caught hiring illegal immigrants.

“That’s crazy,” said Sen. Joey Fillingane, who authored Senate Bill 2179, signaling a fight is ahead for the two chambers as they reconcile their differences.

The Senate, which passed a different version last week after roughly four hours of debate, would have to sign off on the legislation as it passed the House in order to send it to the governor.

Rep. Bobby Moak, who presented the bill on the House floor, defended the new language that says a business convicted of hiring illegal immigrants shall pay between $5,000 and $25,000 for every day those employees were on the payroll.

“That provision is certainly more acceptable than bringing lawsuits against local law enforcement, first responders, cities and counties,” said Moak, D-Bogue Chitto.

The bill as it passed the Senate said a legal resident of the state may bring an action in circuit court to “challenge any official or agency … that adopts or implements a policy that limits or restricts” enforcement of federal immigration laws.

Clarion Ledger
1/27/10