OUR OPINION: Immigration law a wasteful scheme

By NEMS Daily Journal

Many legislators’ insistence on passing an illegal immigrant bill for Mississippi like ones partially voided in Arizona and Alabama by the federal courts comes to a major hurdle this week in the House.
The House must act, one way or another, on HB 488, which would require creating a new unfunded bureaucracy within public schools to track down and prevent enrollment of illegal alien children, and place an unfunded mandate on law enforcement in enforcing multiple provisions of the proposal in investigating suspected illegals.
The bill’s sponsor, Judiciary B Committee Chairman Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, said the Mississippi bill should stand up to legal scrutiny because a provision that held up Alabama’s law has been removed.
Supporters contend the state spends more money providing services to illegal immigrants than it reaps in taxes, and they claim that undocumented immigrants, if they leave, will vacate jobs that unemployed citizens can take. The question is, why did legal Mississippians not seek and accept the jobs in the first place?
The extant version of the bill does not make it a crime for failing to carry immigration papers, a previous provision that is tainted with the memories and tactics of despotic regimes and police states.
However, the bill still says law enforcement officials should check for immigration status when “a reasonable suspicion exists” that a person is in the country illegally. Neither race, nor color, nor national origin can determine the suspicion. Those words virtually ask for problems and lawsuits, given Mississippi’s racially troubled history.
The current version also adds an exception if a person is “an international business executive of an international corporation authorized to transact business in the state,” an attempt to avoid Alabama’s humiliation when police arrested a Japanese man on assignment at the state’s Honda factory and a German man who worked for the state’s Mercedes-Benz plant, big points of pride.
Under federal law, emergency rooms would have to continue to treat everyone and public schools would have to continue to enroll undocumented immigrants. Plus, the bill would require but not pay for a mandate that schools require a birth certificate and follow up on immigration status of anyone who can’t produce one. Why not require legislators to directly undertake the task?
Everyone should remember that any children born in the U.S., even to undocumented parents, are American citizens entitled to all the benefits. That’s in the Constitution.
The bill is wholly unnecessary and duplicative of federal jurisdiction. It probably will pass as expected, but then get ready for an expensive court defense.