Mississippi state legislature is rushing to pass SB 2179, a copy cat law of the controversial SB 1070 that went into effect in Arizona on July 29, 2010. Rushing to pass legislation is a huge red flag that something is amiss in this proposed law. Good legislation does not need to be rushed through. Good legislation can take its time to bear up under the scrutiny of debate and democratic process.
It is only bad legislation that needs to be passed quickly in order to squelch the questions that are raised regarding it. And this bill has all the earmarks of an unjust law that will cause unnecessary heartache and economic disaster for Mississippi. Lt. Governor Bryant has already stated publicly that he wants to “scare Latinos out of Mississippi.” He has not minced words on how racist his opinion is about Latinos. This law will indeed scare Latinos. Latinos who are here legally will be negatively impacted by this law.
And for those who argue that if a person does not break the law, they have nothing to worry about, is in denial of Mississippi’s own racist treatment of African Americans in years past. Law abiding African Americans also should have had nothing to fear in the mid-20th century but they were harassed and falsely arrested and accused at every turn. Here the proposed law states if it is “reasonably believed” that the person may have committed an act that would cause their deportation they can be arrested without warrant. What might constitute reasonable belief? Speaking Spanish? Participating in day labor because unemployment rates are high and this is the only paying gig in town?
Arizona’s economy has suffered a serious blow after its passage of SB 1070 and not because of any boycott but that estimate alone is $141 million in just four months after the law passed. Latino’s have left that state taking with them disposable income that supported apartment complexes, restaurants, mom & pop stores, and a host of other businesses have failed since they passed their racist law. Arizona’s Latinos purchasing power in 2009 was $30.9 billion annually. Latino owned businesses in Arizona had sales and receipts totally $4.3 Billion.
Mississippi cannot afford to turn away businesses in the state. They need the revenue. They cannot afford to close down businesses that are caught hiring undocumented citizens. Imagine the devastating economic impact if the Howard Industries ICE raid were to happen after the passage this bill.
Immigration is a complex issue. There needs to be rational discussion on how to address it. To rush in and pass this bill is to repeat the shameful behavior that Mississippi participated in the past. This bill does not serve the good people of Mississippi well. It needs to be defeated.