Immigration hearing misses unique perspective

JACKSON — Perhaps the most intriguing person signed up to speak at last week’s hearing on whether the state should strengthen and enforce federal immigration laws was John Palmer, a successful Jackson businessman and former ambassador to Portugal during the George W. Bush administration.

House Judiciary B Committee Chair Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, allowed all people who wanted to be heard on the issue to speak during his committee hearing. Palmer was listed as the 38th speaker. By the time it was time for Palmer to speak — after 5 p.m. — he was no longer at the hearing.

The committee room was jam-packed with people standing in what seemed to be every nook and cranny.

Palmer was a telecommunications pioneer and a successful venture capitalist. As chair of SkyTel Communications, he oversaw innovations that helped spur ongoing growth in telecommunications.

No doubt, Palmer, with his international experience and business acumen, would have provided insight into the controversial issue. After all, Mississippi is not home to many ambassadors.