It was predicted that a series of anti-immigration bills mimicking SB 1070 would come upon us and we see it has begun. SB 2179 has passed the state senate in Mississippi. It allows police officers to ask for proof of citizenship or residency in the United States. Officers can probe people based on a primary offense such as driving through a stop sign or speeding. The caveat to it being a secondary search is that this is somehow more humane than SB 1070 because you can’t just stop someone to question their immigration status, you have to stop them for another offense. The caveat they ignored is that the majority of racial profiling happens when people are stopped for other crimes and always at the discretion of an officer. It is also now illegal to be caught in Mississippi without papers.
And now all eyes are on Gov. Barbour. Julianne Hing writes at Colorlines,
The bill now moves on to the House, where it must be voted on to get out of committee. All eyes are on Gov. Haley Barbour, who last year said that such anti-immigration laws were worthwhile, but added that immigrants had contributed a great deal to his state.
“I don’t think there’s any question that we had a tremendous number of people come in, and I have no doubt some of them weren’t here legally,” Barbour said, Fox News Latino reported. “I don’t know where we’d have been without them.”
Barbour will choose his words carefully; he’s being termed out and is widely expected to have presidential aspirations.
It’s not a good look.