Panel OKs bill to check immigration status

JACKSON — A Senate committee on Thursday cleared a bill that would allow police officers who stop people for violations such as speeding or a broken tail light to check their immigration status if there’s reasonable suspicion they are here illegally.

But at least one state lawmaker, Sen. Kelvin Butler, a Democrat from Magnolia, said he’s concerned the bill passed by the Judiciary A Committee would pave the way for more racial profiling.

Committee Chairman Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, said the bill specifically said the immigration check cannot be based solely on race or ethnicity. But Butler said “the officer has the right to do whatever he wants to do because he has the gun.”