Mississippi follows SB 1070 with SB 2179

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.

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3 Comments

  1. Posted January 19, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    We had our own introduced here in Nebraska. LB48. Ugh.

  2. Posted January 19, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    Ok, if officers weren’t human beings with racial bias (whether it be conscience, or subconscience), these types of laws could work, and I wouldn’t see a problem. If it’s a FACT that you were speeding and got pulled over, then showing your proof of citizenship/residency would be another FACT.

    But the officers ARE human, and racial profiling is an unfortunate reality. So what to do? I’m not sure how this might work in actual implementation, but I started thinking about how officers are all given quotas to fill. You know, they must meet X number of tickets every month. They already track the total number they give, so what if they provide just ONE more piece of information per ticket: race/ethnicity of the offender. Then, at the end of the month, cross check the percentage of the various races/ethnicities that are given tickets, with the percentage of all those races/ethnicities of the total population – and if the former is very close to the latter’s number, then that could show a lack of bias on the officer’s part. If the percentage of offenders is much higher than the corresponding percentage in that city/community, then corrective action needs to be taken.

  3. Posted January 19, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    I’ll posit this information:

    1) Mississippi has a population that is probably a little more than 2% Hispanic, which puts the tally somewhere around 60k – 70k people.

    2) The overwhelming portion of that 2% is here legally anyway.

    3) If there is any practical urgency for a crackdown, it is to thwart drug smugglers and other criminals who illegally cross the border over the course of their work. There is no need for them personally to go as far as Mississippi.

    It’s a bill going after an imaginary problem that will just create more work for and more abuses by law enforcement.

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