Last November, Republicans finally took control of the House of Representatives here, the final victory of the party’s long Southern strategy. Not since Reconstruction had the GOP controlled every facet of political life. It wasn’t just any ol’ Republicans either; former Governor Haley Barbour is considered a moderate now. Governor Phil Bryant is a creature of the Tea Party. Though this is not a border state, every aspect of political life was aligned to follow in the footsteps of Arizona, Alabama, and Georgia in passing sweeping state laws against illegal immigration.
But something surprising happened in the Magnolia State. While liberals and immigration rights advocates were pinning futile hopes on the Supreme Court invalidating Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, lest other conservative states stampede to pass similar bills, Mississippi conservatives quietly shelved their own version. It now appears that Arizona-type laws are more likely to suffer their demise at the hands of politics rather than judges.