Immigration News Picks, August 24, 2012: Mississippi Gov. Signs Executive Order

Mississippi governor Phil Bryant says he’s reinforcing current state law. (Photo: Flickr/usdagov)

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant has become the latest governor to sign an executive order barring his state’s agencies from providing benefits to immigrants who have qualified for the new deferred action plan. He joins Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, Texas Governor Rick Perry and Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman in attempting to limit the deferred action plan in their states. From The Mississippi Press‘

“Illegal immigration has real consequences for Mississippi, as it puts additional burdens on our already stretched budget,” Bryant said in a news release. “This executive order will help ensure that public benefits go to only those persons who are lawfully eligible.” He said the executive order “does not change or modify Mississippi law,” which already bans state agencies from providing unemployment payments, food stamps or other benefits to people who are in the United States illegally.

In our podcast on Wednesday we asked pollster Sylvia Manzano how Latinos were likely to vote in the upcoming election. Only 22 percent, she said, would vote for Mitt Romney. That number may get even smaller after this week. According to the New York Times’ political blog, The Caucus, during debates in Tampa in the runup to the GOP convention

Republicans have adopted a party platform on immigration that would require employers nationwide to verify workers’ legal status and deny federal financing to universities that allow illegal immigrant students to enroll at lower in-state tuition rates.

But that’s not all. Delegates reportedly called for tougher border enforcement and opposed “any forms of amnesty,” including Mitt Romney’s idea to create a DREAM Act for undocumented immigrants who have served in the military. This is all part of a strategy to create conditions leading to “self deportation.”

This could hamper the Romney campaign’s purported goal of using the upcoming Republican convention to “push restart” on his relationship with Latinos. On Wednesday Jose Fuentes a co-chairman of Romney’s Hispanic leadership team and former attorney general of Puerto Rico told The Hill “Our goal is to do better than four years ago and the McCain campaign did — our goal is to hit 38 percent with the Hispanic vote.”

Here’s an unexpected outcome of the deferred action roll-out: Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and ICE Director John Morton are being sued by their own agents.

According to NPR:

The 10 Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents say they are under orders not to arrest certain illegal immigrants who might qualify for the administration’s new deferred deportation program, according to the complaint filed in a Texas federal court. The agents say they are prevented from verifying people’s eligibility for deferment, violating federal law that requires agents to detain suspects before determining their status. Agents who have tried to pursue arrests anyway have been threatened with suspensions, the plaintiffs allege.

Fi2W is supported by the New York Community Trust and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with additional support from the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation and the Sirus Fund.


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AboutAaron Leaf
Aaron Leaf is a writer, editor, and digital producer based in New York with a special interest in African politics, immigrant diasporas, and the future of cities. Raised in Canada, he has lived on four continents and has written for a wide variety of publications. Recent bylines include Al Jazeera America, The Nation, The Globe and Mail and The Guardian.