Bryant Says No Benefits for 'Deferred-Status' Immigrants

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is ordering state agencies to not provide public benefits to immigrants who recently received deferred deportation status from the federal government.

Bryant, a Republican, issued an executive order Thursday, hours before a state House committee was to meet about immigration issues.

Bryant has campaigned for years on tightening immigration enforcement.

He says his order "does not change or modify Mississippi law," which already bans state agencies from providing unemployment payments, food stamps or other benefits to people who are in the United States illegally.

"Illegal immigration has real consequences for Mississippi, as it puts additional burdens on our already stretched budget," Bryant said. "This Executive Order will help ensure that public benefits go to only those persons who are lawfully eligible."

President Barack Obama, a Democrat, recently issued an executive order that defers deportation for immigrants who are 30 or younger and entered the U.S. before they were 16.

The order also requires executive state agencies that administer such benefits to clarify their processes in order to guard against erroneously issuing benefits to persons recently granted 'deferred action' status by the Obama Administration.

It was not immediately clear how many people in Mississippi applied for deferred status.

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