STATE SENATOR CHARLIE ROSS OUTLINES PLAN TO FIGHT ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION

State Senator Charlie Ross, the conservative candidate for lieutenant governor, today addressed Mississippi’s illegal immigration problem by offering a plan to curb the influx of undocumented aliens.

“A lot of politicians talk about illegal immigration but too few people are actually doing something about it,” Ross said. “As Lieutenant Governor, I will not just talk, I will take action.” Ross’ six point plan to fight illegal immigration is the first piece of what he is calling the “Ross Action Agenda.”

“Mississippi needs a workhorse as Lieutenant Governor, not a showhorse and that’s why my campaign is based on real work that we’ll get done,” Ross said.

Ross said his action agenda on illegal immigration represents “a good start” and is direct action that state government can take. “Though protecting the border is a federal issue, we can take steps in Mississippi to discourage illegal immigrants from coming to our state,” Ross said. “For too long, the federal government has looked the other way. Mississippi has to stand up for the rule of law and for what is right.”

Senator Ross’s six-pronged approach to deal with Mississippi’s illegal immigration issue ranges from allowing state law enforcement to enforce immigration laws to encouraging employers to verify workers’ immigration records to giving stiff prison sentences to human traffickers.

“The only true border is a secure border and we must continue to push the federal government to enact a tough border security policy,” Ross said. “Until that happens, however, we must use practical, conservative policy to ensure that illegal immigrants do not burden the state with unpaid taxes and free social services.”

Full copy of the illegal immigration proposal of the Ross Action Agenda follows.

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Ross Action Agenda
Chapter One:
Illegal Immigration

A lot of politicians talk about illegal immigration-hardly any of them do anything about it. Instead of grandstanding on the problem, I am going to tell Mississippi exactly what I will do. That is the kind of lieutenant governor we need – a workhorse, not a show horse.

Ours is a nation built on the strength of the dreams of immigrants. I am a supporter of a robust legal immigration policy. But I am against illegal immigration, period. Anyone who enters this country for work or any other purpose must do so in accordance with our laws. Additionally, anyone earning a paycheck in Mississippi should pay their fair share of Mississippi taxes. The rest of us must pay taxes, so it’s only fair that those who enter this country for work–legally or illegally–do the same. That is why I wrote and introduced legislation to require employers to withhold 5% of the wages of all nonresident aliens. Under my bill, those who are here legally can file a tax return and get a refund. Those here illegally, however, will not file, so we need to get their taxes up front. Also In 2007, I was an additional author on SB 2897 which would have prohibited employers under government contracts from using undocumented workers. I also supported the Mississippi Employment Protection Act (HB 1379) which required all employers in Mississippi to require documentation of citizenship from all employees.

Ultimately, the immigration issue is a national problem and we need a national solution. It is up to the federal government to secure our borders and stop the flood of illegal immigrants. It is my hope the federal government will do just that; after all, a border that is not secure is not truly a border. At the same time, we can no longer afford to stand by and wait for Washington to get their act together. We must take action and do our part at the state level to stem the tide of illegal immigration.

Rhetoric will not get the job done–we need a concise plan and bold leadership. It is my intention to offer both. I propose six specific actions Mississippi should adopt to help stop the effects of illegal immigration. Some of these have been offered as legislation, but have failed to pass both houses. We must take a tough stance to deter illegal immigration in our state and ensure that the citizens of Mississippi, along with the legal immigrants in our state, are not paying for those individuals who feel they must enter our country and state illegally.

1. State Police Enforce Immigration Laws
Simply put, we must allow our State Police to enforce the law. To this end, I would direct State Police to develop Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Department of Homeland Security that allows/requires state police to enforce immigration laws. Also, allow any county sheriffs who want to join this MOU to do so; in addition we should set up a grant pool at the state level to give training grants to those counties.

2. Stop the Transportation of Illegal Immigrants
Make it a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison to covertly transport illegal immigrants to or through Mississippi knowingly or with reckless disregard.

3. Stop Document Fraud
Increase penalties for forging documents for identity purposes and create new penalties for Immigration Consultants who help people forge documents or advise them to do so. You help forge a document, you go to jail, no exceptions.

4. No Illegal Immigrants on State Payroll
Federal Law establishes the following: All state contractors can voluntarily participate in the Federal Work Authorization Verification Pilot Program, which would require employers to electronically verify the status of all newly-hired workers within three days of hire, using information that a new hire is already required to provide. This program checks the validity of the Social Security number, name, date of birth, and citizenship provided by the worker.

In Mississippi, we need to develop incentives to encourage state contractors to participate in programs (such as the Federal Work Authorization Verification Pilot Program) that may be available and effective in establishing legal residency. Our goal should be to have no illegal immigrants getting a paycheck from the state of Mississippi.

5. Require Proof of Citizenship or Legal Residency for state benefits
To qualify for state/governmental assistance you must show proof of citizenship or legal residency. Without proof of citizenship or residency there will be no eligibility for state benefits – Welfare, Medicaid, or unemployment.

6. No Bail for Illegal Immigrants who Commit Crimes
Thousands of illegal immigrants filter through the criminal justice system and then melt back into society. If a judge is able to determine that the suspect is an illegal immigrant they should be held without bail due to being a flight risk. The judge should then proceed in notifying INS of the situation and proper deportation methods should begin.