Scared of Xenophobes? | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Scared of Xenophobes?

A great number of the bills pushing through the Legislature this session—more than in most years previously—deal with immigration and immigrants.

Some bills, such as HB 88, submitted by Rep. Erik Fleming, D-Clinton, are designed to make life easier for immigrants. HB 88 seeks to provide in-state college tuition rates to immigrant students who have attended state high schools. Fleming has also offered bills preventing rent-gouging by employers who house immigrant workers, and another bill requiring those homes to meet federal standards.

Rep. Jim Evans, D-Jackson, and Rufus Straughter, D-Belzoni, submitted a bill establishing a State Department of Labor. Mississippi is the only state that doesn't have one.

Sen. Alice Harden, D-Jackson, has submitted bills to help non-English speaking individuals navigate schools and courtrooms. SB 2220 would provide in-state tuition for an immigrant student who attends public high school for at least two years, and SB 2269 would provide court interpreters in state county and city courts.

Bills seeking to limit immigration or cut illegal immigrants from federal or state aid outnumber other bills, however.

Rep. John Moore, R-Brandon, has submitted a slew of bills restricting access for illegal immigrants. Moore, partnering with Rep. Mike Lott, R-Petal, released HB 500, which would prohibit non-English-speaking undocumented workers from applying for any kind of license or public assistance. Moore also submitted HB 500, which would prohibit contractors from hiring non-citizens, and encourage law enforcement to target contractors who do.

Lott's HB 947 would revoke licenses for anyone convicted of hiring undocumented workers. Lott and Moore joined Rep. Ricky Cummings, D-Iuka, and Rep. Harvey Moss, D-Corinth, in submitting HB 1072, which seeks to restrict the children of undocumented workers from enrolling in schools, and requires schools to report children who attempt to enroll to immigration authorities. HB 1073, authored by Lott, Cummings, Moore, Moss and Rep. Gary Staples, R-Laurel, would carry that restriction up into higher education, prohibiting undocumented students from those institutions.
Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance President Bill Chandler noted a curious common trait of what he called the "xenophobic authors" of these bills.

"I don't think it's a coincidence that all the anti-immigration bills were authored by white male
legislators," Chandler said.

Reps. Lott, Staples, Cummings and Moore did not return calls by press time.

Previous Comments

ID
138027
Comment

From the article: Lott and Moore joined Rep. Ricky Cummings, D-Iuka, and Rep. Harvey Moss, D-Corinth, in submitting HB 1072, which seeks to restrict the children of undocumented workers from enrolling in schools, and requires schools to report children who attempt to enroll to immigration authorities. Okay. No matter how you feel about undocumented immigrants, this makes no friggin' sense. The practical result of the bill will be that even fewer kids of undocumented immigrants attend school. Who does this help? Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-02-02T05:50:40-06:00
ID
138028
Comment

How about this one though? Moore, partnering with Rep. Mike Lott, R-Petal, released HB 500,which would prohibit non-English-speaking undocumented workers from applying for any kind of license or public assistance. I guess if you are an undocumented worker from Canada or the Caribbean or South Africa, then you can apply for a license. But alas, a Ukrainian who couldn't speak English could not apply! Really, even if you do support prohibition of "undocumented workers from applying for any kind of license or public assistance", what the hell difference does English-fluency make!!! They HAVE to know this won't survive a court challenge! Just more "red meat" to show that they "care" about certain parts of their constituency who hold such xenophobic "values".

Author
Philip
Date
2006-02-16T00:13:07-06:00
ID
138029
Comment

Agreed 100%, Philip. Fortunately, it seems that all of Lott's anti-immigrant bills have died in committee this year--but the man's a nasty piece of work, a classic example of the Southern Strategy being adapted to fit new forms of hatred, and I'm sure he'll be back working to destroy the lives of more "undesirables" as soon as he gets a chance. Kudos to my friend Bill Chandler, and everyone else in MIRA, for working to make sure he doesn't get that chance. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-02-16T03:54:26-06:00
ID
138030
Comment

Let me add that I don't think opposing amnesty for undocumented immigrants necessarily makes you a bigot, but Lott and his cadre are clearly pandering, as anyone who has heard their rhetoric about "anchor babies" can attest. I mean, seriously, so now he's declaring war on infants because their parents are undocumented? Give me a friggin' break. I've talked to some folks who attended his little fist-pumping white boy carnival a few weeks ago, and it was apparently some pretty nauseating stuff. I have no use for politicians like this, no matter which side of the political aisle they're on--and as the above article points out, many of his allies are fellow white male Democrats. You know, the kind of people the state Democratic Party chair might like to see run for the U.S. Senate one day. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-02-16T04:05:09-06:00
ID
138031
Comment

More on racism in the anti-immigration movement, from the Southern Poverty Law Center. Just click here, here, and especially here (one of the most entertaining articles I've seen in a long time). Again, not everyone in the border push movement is as scary as the MFIRE gang. But until the Mississippi Democratic Party goes on record as condemning this kind of xenophobic pandering, good folks like Omeria Scott and Erik Fleming will be smeared by sharing party affiliation with the likes of Ricky Cummings and Harvey Moss. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-03-03T01:49:52-06:00
ID
138032
Comment

One of the wonderful things about Mississippi is the fact that it's a little out of touch. I mean that -- it makes for a wonderful sense of living in a kinder, gentler time. A sort of quiet superiority that you have to live here to understand. I so hope that never changes. Those of us who lived through the civil rights era, even if we were still kids, carry around a lot of guilt about those days. We feel like we should somehow make amends forever. I think that is behind the move to get rid of the state flag. It's like this embarassment. We wistfully think we could somehow be seen as no longer the place where black people were treated badly. Maybe even be seen as progressive. It could happen, we tell ourselves. If we try hard enough. I don't think it will. The rest of the country has way too much fun looking down on us. I don't think there's anything we could do to change that. I don't think we should try. We might give away something we can't get back. Be quick to decry racism and don't ever be guilty of it. Be on the lookout for any remnants of the things that we did badly -- that makes us good people. But please oh please. Don't mistake opposition to the immigration status quo as racism. It's a grave mistake. It has the potential to give us headaches that would make the 60's look tame. Mexico is more than happy for us to have been their national welfare system forever. They want to get rid of their poor so they don't have to take care of them. We've welcomed destitute, down and out people from all over the world for many many years. We have gegun to stagger under the weight. We take care of our own poor badly. If there was ever a time this country could take on the poor of an entire country, let alone the whole world, we can't do it any more. It was concentrated on the coasts for a long time. Then it was only in really big cities. They really did move in and do enormous damage to the infrastructure. It really isn't the people themselves, it's the sheer numbers of them. In a place like Mississippi with a large poor population, the influx of a wave of lots more poor people who are willing to work for half what our poor can, the effects would be horrible. The moment President Bush made noises about amnesty illegal border crossings surged. You can google this -- it was in the Washington Post. Let them get wind of Mississippi making it easy to come here and live here and that wil happen too -- you won't believe how fast. Be compassionate and be fair. Never let race make your decisions for you. Keep in the front of your mind though, your own state, and the things that make it a nice place to live. And don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Author
Gallivant
Date
2006-04-05T15:45:59-06:00

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