Mississippi Officials React to Immigration Ruling

By: Mike McDaniel
By: Mike McDaniel

As the nation's eyes watched to see what the high court would do on immigration, a five to three ruling would, for the most part, side with the federal government, striking down most of the controversial immigration law in Arizona. Meanwhile, Mississippi ACLU Legal Director Bear Atwood says the final decision is unsettling.

"Was it a victory, no," he says. "Was it a complete loss, no. Like most things with the Supreme Court, unfortunately, they don't always agree with us."

Three of the four provisions in the law were struck down, while the most divisive still stands. Under the so called "show me your papers" provision, Arizona law enforcement officers can still check the immigration status of anyone, if there's reasonable suspicion. Instead of ruling on that provision, the court is taking a wait and see attitude.

"The Supreme Court held that it was premature to consider the question of whether it was constitutional," according to Mike Sayer with Southern Echo.

Mississippi Immigrant's Rights Alliance executive director Bill Chandler says that provision has malicious intent.

"Probable cause is the excuse for the stops," Chandler says. "Racial profiling is the real reason."

In Mississippi, where lawmakers have tried numerous times to pass immigration reform, which included that controversial provision, Atwood says the ruling should serve as a warning. Governor Phil bryant, a supporter of failed immigration legislation, says he doesn't agree with all of the court's ruling and still supports a change to the state's current law.

Lawmakers who support immigration reform in Mississippi say there will be more attempts to change state law, but Atwood says court challenges from Arizona could once again reach into the magnolia state, especially if that one provision is ruled unconstitutional.


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