Legislature to Hold Hearings on Anti-Immigration Bill | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Legislature to Hold Hearings on Anti-Immigration Bill

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The Mississippi Legislature may require all law enforcement personnel in the state to ask any person they suspect could be "illegal" to prove that he or she is a documented United States citizen during any contact with the police, and to arrest someone who does not provide the documentation.

The legislation would require that police check residency status in any dealings with the police should "reasonable suspicion" exist that he or she "is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States." The Senate Judiciary Committee will host hearings tomorrow and Wednesday to discuss the proposed law, which is designed to resemble Arizona's controversial anti-immigration legislation.

Sen. Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, drafted the bill and will submit it during the next legislative session. The bill demands that law enforcement make an attempt to determine the residential status of a person during "any lawful contact" with the public, which would include asking for citizenship proof from crime victims who officers suspect might not be documented. Fillingane said today that such criteria, which are not delineated in the bill, might include someone who does not speak English.

Fillingane said he expects some people to take issue with the law, which would inevitably lead to police officers asking U.S. citizens for proof of residency, even if they are crime victims. "No one's saying it's perfect. I haven't come across the perfect bill yet, in my 12 years in the Legislature, but it's certainly a start," Fillangane told the Jackson Free Press today.

The legislator defended his legislation against those who argue that it demands that police profile citizens, as well as non-citizens. "It's illegal to check someone if you don't have reasonable suspicion if the language in this particular bill becomes law. You don't have to check everybody. If you read the language of the bill it specifically prohibits racial profiling," he said. Fillingane did not provide examples of criteria other than poor English skills.

Fillingame said the law would state that police may not pull over anybody solely for the purpose of establishing their citizenship. "It's not (the primary reason for) the (traffic) stop--only if they are engaged in reasonable duties in their job as a law enforcement officer," Fillingane said. "And then, in the process of doing a regular stop for speeding or roadblocks or they get calls for domestic (abuse) situations, if something alerts them-- i.e. you can't speak English--that this person may not be here legally, if they have reasonable suspicion they can ask for some kind of proof of legal residency."

The law also makes it a misdemeanor crime for an undocumented resident not carrying "an alien registration document; assessment; exception; authenticated records; [or] classification" of residency status.

Officers would be required to arrest anyone in violation of the law--including a crime victim--and notify U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Those arrested are not eligible for probation, pardon or release from confinement.

The bill states that a warrantless arrest of people eligible for deportation can occur "if the officer has probable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed any public offense that makes the person removable from the United States."

The law also allows any legal resident of Mississippi to sue any state enforcement body for not following the demands of the law. The bill sets the fine for a state or local agency for "adopt(ing) or implement(ing) a policy or practice that limits or restricts the enforcement of federal immigration laws" at no more than $5,000 for each day the practice is in place.

Hinds County Sheriff Malcolm McMillin took issue with the legislation. "I think it's silly," said McMillin, adding that it is not county deputies' job to enforce immigration policies.

"(Fillingane's) time might be better used convincing those in Washington that represent us to enforce immigration laws and secure the borders. It's my understanding that it's the responsibility of the federal government to ensure those things, and since considerable members of Congress are in his party, then he should have considerable influence over passing those federal laws that would ensure that that happens."

If the bill passes, Fillingane said it would likely end up in federal court.

"If it passes in identical form that it is in right now, I certainly think based on what has happened in Arizona, the federal government would probably seek to have the law enjoined in federal court," he said.

Previous Comments

ID
160043
Comment

Did Fillingane essentially admit that this all a political game? If the law is doomed in the federal courts, then it is purely a rhetorical gesture. It is a political strategy rather than a genuine attempt at immigration reform. It is analogous to the referendum on citizenship beginning at conception, which will do absolutely nothing to reduce abortion. Otherwise, the idea that not speaking English is adequate reason to subject a person to extra scrutiny from law enforcement troubles me. Many undocumented immigrants speak English. Many documented immigrants do not speak English. English is not even the official language of the United States.

Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2010-09-27T15:41:50-06:00
ID
160045
Comment

Did Fillingane essentially admit that this all a political game? That was my impression, Brian. And agreed on the English criteria; doesn't make sense. And Adam said he didn't provide other possible criteria. Can you imagine being a cop asked to detect/enforce a civil violation based on such vague criteria!?! They're supposed to do this rather than actually be on the crime beat. (Seems a lot of people don't know that immigration violations are civil, not crime.)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2010-09-27T15:58:22-06:00
ID
160056
Comment

The idea that the police could ask a victim of crime about his or her citizenship is preposterous. It's bad enough that the undocumented are often targeted by criminals because of their fear of being deported if they report being a victim, but now they and, really, all citizens could be turned into criminals. And this money quote: The law also allows any legal resident of Mississippi to sue any state enforcement body for not following the demands of the law. The bill sets the fine for a state or local agency for "adopt(ing) or implement(ing) a policy or practice that limits or restricts the enforcement of federal immigration laws" at no more than $5,000 for each day the practice is in place. Think about how many lawsuits could flood the court system by anti-immigrant persons and organizations. But then again, we are talking about Joey Fillingame. He is the one who brought up the JSU quick-take bill and the infamous Green Zone bill.

Author
golden eagle
Date
2010-09-27T23:23:51-06:00
ID
160059
Comment

Tahe three comments I read are very sick. The illegals are taking jobs our young men and women just out of high school usually have to aid them in getting started in life. The illegals women all, YES ALL, have babies and charge the medical bill to the tax paying public, which they are not. Most if not all work off the books and pay no tax. Most of the illegals have 6 - 10 kids and we the tax payers have to pay about 10,000 per birth. To the idiots like BC Johnson, crawl back under the rock you idiot. English is the common spoken language. Show me one who can not speak English and i will show you an illegal alien, idiot. DolnaldLadd, the idiots are robbing your future children of their benefits. You need to think before opening your ignorant mouth and exposing how stupid you are. golden eagle, those same illegals who you wish to protect will steal your children blind. There in Mississippi I know your education is on the bottom rung of the ladder. The illegals will take that away from your children and they will be below the bottom rung of the same ladder. I havce no problem with the illegals being robbed and kicked out of my country perhaps you and the others will make a bed for them so as they will be more comfortable. Frank Bowers, FIC, Austin, TX

Author
frank
Date
2010-09-28T06:33:44-06:00
ID
160060
Comment

I think any officer of the court, should be required to uphold all laws, civil or what ever. They are being paid to protect the citizens not the CRIMINAL ILLEGAL ALIENS FROM THE COUNTRIES SOUTH OF THE US of A. I served 8 years in the military and protected the S. Koreans and the Germany we protected alllllllllllllllll the citizens and upheld all the rules. We did not pick and choose just what we would and would not do. Any Shreiff, police officer, or county officer, city officer or state officer that refused to do so should be FIRED ON THE SPOT WITHOUT ANY BENEFITS. Frank Bowers

Author
frank
Date
2010-09-28T06:37:19-06:00
ID
160066
Comment

Mr. Bowers, first, spend a bit of time on the site and with the user agreement. We do not call other comments "sick" or "ignorant" or "stupid" just because we disagree with them. We maintain respectful adult conversation here, and we need you to follow suit. Otherwise, you don't come across looking very intelligent or mature. Secondly, you clearly have not checked your facts when you make statements such as immigrants "pay no tax" or when you call undocumented immigrants "criminal." It is a civil violation, and your ignorance of that fact does not change it. I don't know about over in Austin, but here in Jackson and Mississippi, we have a severe law-enforcement shortage, and many people are concerned with political efforts that would draw resources away from police being able to help reduce murders, etc. This is a serious concern for us in a poor state. I will also add that immigrants pretty much rebuilt our coast with their labor after Katrina. I havce no problem with the illegals being robbed That statement pretty much says it all, right. This kind of rhetoric reminds me so much of what people used to say about black people in our state. We have no interest in going doing that hateful road again here, or at least many of us don't. I can't speak for our politicians who are beating up the hateful fervor. Also, you misspelled my name, along with many other words including sheriff. This isn't helping your credibility, either. For immigration *facts*, I suggest reading this week's cover story: On the Anchor Baby Trail and Immigration: Myth v. Reality. You can see still more researched stories on immigration at this link.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2010-09-28T07:45:01-06:00
ID
160077
Comment

All, NPR's Marketplace had an interesting business piece yesterday: Listen to the show Impact of undocumented on local biz. Economist Ray Perryman says the undocumented contribute more as workers, consumers and taxpayers than they cost in government services. RAY PERRYMAN: There's a net positive benefit that pretty much cuts across the entire economy. Perryman concludes if you removed all undocumented workers it would cost the U.S. economy $650 billion or nearly 5 percent of GDP. Do people actually care about the economic impact, or is this really about fear of the Hispanic vote (as local tea partier Kim Wade is not shy about saying?). And if that is the case, how is it different from fear of the black vote in the 1960s? That was also bolstered by myths and bad information. It concerns me greatly how many people come on this website and show no. interest. whatsoever. in actual facts and economic-impact studies. Those people clearly have an agenda other than their stated one, and that is really scary. If they didn't, they would at least be interested in studies that show that undocumented workers help the U.S. more than they hurt us, economically.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2010-09-28T08:43:52-06:00
ID
160082
Comment

People live in fear of the other. It is our genetic heritage and it sucks. We have to overcome it with facts and reason. If not we will make our lives worse instead of better.

Author
Izzy
Date
2010-09-28T08:58:05-06:00
ID
160083
Comment

So true, Izzy. So true. I get so frustrated with the xenophobes, and then I remind myself that they likely have been raised that way. And we have politicians running around spewing lies about the "other," just as we did when I was growing up. One of the biggest insults here is that our politicians assume that Mississippians are bigots and will believe anything. Too many people affirm that strategy for them, but I believe to my core in our state and our ability to overcome our history. We can be better this time around; we can reject the lies and demagoguery. We can call out those who spread it. We didn't in the past, but we can now. No politician who lies to us about human beings deserves our vote. Listenin' Phil Bryant. Be better than you are acting now. Please. Stand up and be a real man who doesn't need to rely on the tricks of the past to get elected. Up to it?

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2010-09-28T09:09:42-06:00
ID
160099
Comment

Any one who diagrees with me is okay. Now I suggest they go to the illegal and help them. I suggest we ship the idiots out. They have baby after baby free to them and a cost to us of over 10,000 per head for delivery and then 18 years of food stamps, 12-14 years of education at 10,-12,000 per year per child. They pay little if any tax as they sponge off the citizens for what ever their needs may be. I am sorry for those who support the lazy idiots but your kids will pay for your mistakes. Yes your mistakes in supporting the illegals. If any illegal is suffering while in this country due to them being illegal they can always GO BACK FROM WHICH THEY CAME. BTW I happened to have married a citizen who was of hispanic heritage and have two beautiful daughters one is 40 the other is 44 so I do not hate the citizen hispanic just the illegal alien criminals who come to plunder steal and have kids and make our tax payers pay for their pleasure.Frank Bowers

Author
frank
Date
2010-09-28T11:24:59-06:00
ID
160104
Comment

I'd like to apologize to readers for Frank's comments appearing on the site without passing through moderation mode. He is making offensive and stereotypical remarks about a group of people, and they should have been moderated before appearing. However, I looked in the back end, and he first showed up here back in 2008 before we started our brilliant moderation method that means that "guest" comments are moderated before going up; everyone can prove that you're here to be respectful and get promoted to "member." (You can also get demoted by violating the user agreement and end up back in guest mode.) The above comments by frank are like the ugly, nasty ones you see on the Clarion-Ledger site and do not belong on the JFP. My apologies to everyone for them appearing; he's now a guest again. Needless to say, the post is filled with myths and stereotypes.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2010-09-28T11:54:13-06:00
ID
160108
Comment

well, by no means am I definding defending Frank - but at least if he is shooting from the hip and being honest with his so-called analysis of the situation, you shouldn't defend his statement for being up here Ladd. That is if we are going to truly debate the topic/issues, as well, it's up to Frank to be able to defend his statement and opinion, albeit however general/simpleton it was or may be. I didn't take offense to it at all, it only reinforced my views on a majority of Mississippian's and their attitudes towards social/cultural issues.

Author
Duan C.
Date
2010-09-28T12:12:19-06:00
ID
160110
Comment

Given his shaky grammar, Frank may well face extra scrutiny from Mississippi law enforcement if this law passes. ;)

Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2010-09-28T12:26:07-06:00
ID
160112
Comment

Duan, it's good you're not offended, but that doesn't change our policy about bigotry. Comments like that allowed repeatedly would run off any intelligent person from the site and turn it into a hateful forum. There are other blogs, and The Clarion-Ledger's site, that provides those forums. This one does not. Yes, argue policy, disagree, debate -- but do NOT post blatant bigotry here and try to stereotype entire groups of people as criminals, "illegals," etc. We run a different kind of shop here.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2010-09-28T12:47:31-06:00
ID
160116
Comment

Wow, looks like somebody didn't eat their Cheerios this morning! BTW I happened to have married a citizen who was of hispanic heritage and have two beautiful daughters one is 40 the other is 44 so I do not hate the citizen hispanic just the illegal alien criminals who come to plunder steal and have kids and make our tax payers pay for their pleasure.Frank Bowers Oh yeah, that old argument of "I'm not racist. My best friends are (insert race)."

Author
golden eagle
Date
2010-09-28T15:26:47-06:00

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