An extreme immigration bill died in the Mississippi legislature today after it failed to come up for a vote in committee. Senate Judiciary B Committee Chairman Hob Bryan (D) said he decided not to bring the anti-immigrant legislation, HB 488, up for a committee vote — effectively killing the legislation, which had passed the state House — because he thought it would micromanaged how police officers do their jobs. Some House members now hope to attach immigration enforcement provisions to other bills, but for now, Mississippi avoided following Alabama’s example of making immigrants’ lives miserable in order to make them leave the state.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) endorsed the anti-immigrant measure and even said he was “baffled” by the opposition to it. But many groups came out against the bill. Police officers and sheriffs, who would be responsible for holding undocumented immigrants, opposed the legislation out of fear that the requirements would be too costly for cities and counties. Religious leaders feared the bill would do more harm than good in the state. And building contractors and agricultural groups were against the bill because of how it could damage Mississippi’s economy.
These groups and the committee chairman who helped stop the bill clearly understood the harm that extreme bills like this have caused in Alabama and Arizona. Some anti-immigrant Republicans, including Mitt Romney, have latched onto far-reaching bills like these, but at least Mississippi will not be the next example of how bad this type of attrition-by-enforcement law can be.