A year ago, I would have been more excited by the Mississippi House finally passing a new immigration law.
It was frustrating to watch Arizona-style immigration reform die in Mississippi after the Republican-controlled Mississippi Senate and the Democrat-controlled Mississippi House failed to reach a compromise bill.
After that happened, we spent the rest of the year anticipating the 2011 state elections, hoping that Lt. Gov Phil Bryant would get elected and that Republicans would capture the Mississippi House and eliminate the Democratic majority that was the major obstacle to immigration reform.
Phil Bryant was elected governor. Republicans captured the Mississippi House. Mississippi even passed the strong Voter ID law that had been blocked for decades in the Mississippi state legislature. Immigration reform was introduced as expected.
And the result?
Mississippi Republicans gutted “Alabama-style immigration reform” and passed something that more closely resembles Tennessee’s state immigration law. Gone are provisions that would have checked the immigration status of public school students, allowed police to arrest illegal aliens who lacked identity documents, allowed Mississippi police to check immigration status at traffic stops, allowed public utilities to refuse power, water, and sewer service to illegal aliens.
The specter of ACLU and SPLC court challenges and liberal federal judges gutting the immigration law, as they have already done in Arizona, Alabama, Utah, Georgia, South Carolina, and Indiana, was enough to water down the bill to a mere immigration check of illegal aliens who are arrested.
It is another instructive example of how the federal government has usurped all the powers reserved to the states. It shows that our actual rulers are powerful liberal special interest groups who effectively have veto power over state lawmakers.
Even if the Supreme Court upholds Arizona’s immigration law in June, it will only reinforce and confirm the principle that all power in the United States is concentrated in Washington. Most states aren’t as bold as Mississippi and won’t even bother to pass Arizona-style immigration laws.
Vermont isn’t sued for announcing its intention to become a sanctuary state. California isn’t sued for passing the DREAM Act. Washington, DC isn’t sued for publicly announcing that federal immigration law isn’t enforced there. The only states and municipalities that are sued and have to go through these expensive court challenges are the ones that try to enforce existing federal immigration law.
South Carolina passed an Arizona-style immigration law and Voter ID law. Texas also passed a Voter ID law. There is no reason to believe that Mississippi’s immigration law and Voter ID law won’t end up like those in neighboring states.
It sounded nice and got some Republican politicians elected in 2011, but it ultimately disappeared into the bowels of the federal court system in 2012, not unlike the attempt to ban “gay marriage” in California.
Is Michael Hill right? Can we reform a system that is institutionally closed to reform? Let’s sit back and watch how this plays out.