House committee passes immigration crackdown bill

The bill still says law enforcement officials should check for immigration status when “a reasonable suspicion exists” that a person is in the country illegally. The measure bars police from considering race, color or national origin when making that decision, although opponents still fear racial profiling.

The new version also adds an exception if a person is “an international business executive of an international corporation authorized to transact business in the state.” In the months after the Alabama law was enacted, police there arrested a Japanese man on assignment at the state’s Honda factory and a German man who worked for the state’s Mercedes-Benz plant, spurring widespread concern that the law would scare off foreign investors.

Another provision was watered down that allows any Mississippi resident to sue a state agency, city or county that looks the other way on immigration status. The bill now says that an agency or government must adopt a written policy or ordinance to be subject to a lawsuit. The measure is supposed to prohibit “sanctuary cities” that don’t enforce immigration laws. Gipson indicated that Jackson is a sanctuary city, but it’s unclear if a 2010 ordinance that instructed police officers not to use racial profiling or ask about immigration status goes that far.

Added was a provision that allows churches and charities to meet “immediate basic and human needs” as long as they doesn’t charge or use government funds.

Clarino Ledger
2/25/12