"Perhaps it's boat-rocking time in Mississippi," said Governor Phil Bryant (photo) on Wednesday at the State Capitol, surrounded by other supporters of House Bill 488.
State lawmakers grabbed the sides of the boat and passed the controversial anti-illegal immigration bill by a vote of 70-47 late Wednesday night during an around-the-clock session that didn’t end until the wee hours of Thursday morning.
The bill takes its title from a similar measure passed in Arizona (SB 1070). It is called the “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act.” As has been widely reported here and elsewhere, the Arizona measure is scheduled to be heard very soon by the U.S. Supreme Court.
As originally drafted, the Mississippi legislation would have mandated that public schools in the state keep track of the immigration status of all enrolled students. Another provision in the bill required law enforcement to check the immigration status of those individuals stopped for other violations.
During deliberations in the state House, those particular provisions were removed from the bill and were not a part of the final version approved by lawmakers.
Still a part of the legislation, however, is a section requiring police to run immigration checks on anyone they arrest, as well as a prohibition on those illegally present in Mississippi from contracting to do business within the state.
The bill will now be sent to the state Senate, where it is almost certain to pass. If it should clear that hurdle, the Governor has indicated that he will sign the measure into law.
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