March 13, 2009
JACKSON -- The Mississippi House approved two proposals offered Thursday by Rep. Gary Chism of Columbus to set stronger state policies against undocumented immigrants.
"I want these illegal immigrants to go back home, and I want to do all we can to keep them out," said the Republican lawmaker.
Chism persuaded the House of Representatives to adopt a measure for training state Department of Public Safety agents how to better enforce federal immigration laws.
The House also approved Chism''s proposal for the Department of Corrections to ensure immigrant criminals in state prisons are deported to their home countries and not released in Mississippi.
The anti-immigrant measures were attached to the state agencies'' spending bills (Senate Bills 3227 and 3224) the House passed Thursday as the state Legislature builds the state budget for the coming fiscal year. House-Senate negotiators will decide whether Chism''s propositions stay in the final budget bills to present to lawmakers in two weeks.
Chism on Thursday also got the House to adopt an amendment saying local governments can''t be reimbursed for homestead-exemption tax losses until they publish newspaper notices providing specific information about reappraised property values. Chism said this is aimed at ensuring the public knows county supervisors and other local officials are raising taxes and not state legislators.
This was attached as a spending condition to the state Tax Commission''s budget in Senate Bill 3233.
The House voted 80-42 for Chism''s proposal to train nine state Highway Safety Patrol officers how to crack down on illegal immigrants. Agents, for example, can be taught how to detect fraudulent documents that illegal immigrants could file to get Mississippi driver''s licenses.
The House approved Chism''s other two bill amendments by voice votes that don''t have individual tallies.
Chism noted all immigration bills have died in committee during the Legislature''s annual session, which is scheduled to end April 4.
"This is your only chance to vote against illegal immigration this year," he told the House.
Bill Chandler of the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance said Chism''s measures typify the wave of recent legislation across the country against Hispanics.
"I think Chism is consistent with the drive by some Republicans to drive Latinos out of Mississippi through fear and intimidation," he said.
In other action Thursday, the House approved a tuition-grant measure increasing to $1,000 what the state provides to qualified freshmen and sophomores attending a state university or community college. They currently get $500 a year from the Mississippi Tuition Assistance Grant program. Juniors and seniors get $1,000.
MTAG aids about 21,000 students at a cost of about $15 million a year. The grant increase is budgeted to cost about $7 million a year in Senate Bill 3218.
"During trying economic times, the House believes this will stimulate our citizens to upgrade employment skills, which will be an economic boost eventually creating better paying jobs and generating more tax revenue," House Appropriations Chairman Johnny Stringer, D-Montrose, said in a statement issued by House leaders.
However, the House voted down a plan Thursday for giving an additional $600 tuition waiver for community college students. Rep. Jerry Turner, R-Baldwyn, said he offered the proposal as "an investment" to help students get a better education.
The House voted 66-54 against Turner''s proposal, which one lawmaker described as just "wishful thinking."
Area legislators voting for Turner''s proposal: Jim Beckett, R-Bruce; Donnie Bell, D-Fulton; Gary Chism, R-Columbus; Reecy Dickson, D-Macon; Jimmy Puckett, D-Amory; Russ Nowell, D-Louisville; Dannie Reed, R-Ackerman.
Voting against it: Tyrone Ellis, D-Starkville; David Gibbs, D-West Point; Jeff Smith, D-Columbus.
Not voting: Esther Harrison, D-Columbus.
To read bills, follow their progress and see how legislators voted, go to the Mississippi Legislature''s Web site: billstatus.ls.state.ms.us. The Web site also has live videocasts of House and Senate floor sessions.
Irene Miller commented at 3/13/2009 5:07:00 PM:
Rep. Chism should spend more time making sure that Mississippians get the best education possible (through excellent programs like MTAG) rather than trying to keep people out of the state.
Marge commented at 3/14/2009 5:07:00 PM:
The author mistakes "anti-immigrant measures" for "anti-ILLEGAL ALIEN measures". Why does the media have such a hard time with this? Besides State Troopers, local law enforcement in all counties should get involved. The 287g program has been very effective where it is in place. We don't need to apologize for wanting to enforce our laws. Illegal aliens are destroying America. Lets not forget the victims:
Sanity Please commented at 3/14/2009 5:35:00 PM:
"Illegal aliens are destroying America." Get a grip.
Did illegal aliens turn the stock market into a ponzi scheme? Did they make risky home loans to make a fast buck? Did they send our young people off to war and destroy our credibility abroad? Are they the ones responsible for global warming? Are they forcing our children to watch too much television and to excercise too little?
Last time I looked, illegal immigrants were working hard at tough jobs for low pay and trying their best to raise good families. Maybe one day Americans will stop listening to demagogues like Rep. Chism, and haters like Marge will come to understand that they are being played.
LadyM commented at 3/15/2009 7:04:00 AM:
SanityPlease....you are trying to compare apples to oranges in your diatribe for illegal aliens.
What illegal aliens are doing is killing 25 American citizens a day. 13 by outright murder and 12 by driving drunk. They are also raping our women, molesting and raping our children, stealing ID's and taking jobs that American citizens and Legal Immigrants need to survive. They are decimating our medical facilities and our education system. They are marching in our streets carrying the flags of other countries that they hold allegiance to while demanding rights they don't have. They refuse to assimlate and demand that we learn to speak their language. Besides all of this, they are in this country illegally. And in case you are not aware, being here illegally is against the law. If they want to work hard, they should return to their own country and work to change it. Not come here and try to change our country, which has worked pretty well for a long time.
Lou Gray commented at 3/15/2009 10:24:00 PM:
WAKE UP IRENE MILLER. IF WE WEREN'T SPENDING MILLIONS ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS WE WOULD HAVE MORE MONEY FOR OUR SCHOOLS. ARE THEY PAYING SOCIAL SECURITY TAXES LIKE AMERICAN WORKERS ARE REQUIRED TO DO OR THEY BEING PAID UNDER THE TABLE? I AGREE WITH GARY CHISM - WE NEED TO STOP THEM FROM ENTERING OUR STATE.
Terry James commented at 3/17/2009 3:07:00 PM:
Are there more idiots like Irene Miller moving to Columbus? What part of ILLEGAL don't you get? That means they ARE BREAKING THE LAW, IRENE.
Stop with the bleeding heart nonsense, there is logic, and then there is liberalism.
Elaine Hummel commented at 3/18/2009 11:41:00 AM:
I have been reading the comments. We have just as big a problem in Texas, We are spending more money translating books from English to Spanish than we are on paying salaries to teachers who now must take Spanish to be able to keep their jobs. What was the ALAMO for? DID WE ALL COME TO AMERICA AND FIGHT TO MAKE IT THE UNITED STATES JUST TO GIVE IT BACK TO OTHER COUNTRIES BY LACK OF ACTION? LOOK AT MEXICAN IMMIGRATION LAWS. 1. THERE WILL BE NO SPECIAL BILINGUAL PROGRAMS IN SCHOOLS.
2. ALL BALLOTS WILL BE IN THIS NATIONS'S LANGUAGE.
3. ALL GOVERNMENT BUSINESS WILL BE CONDUCTED IN OUR LANGUAGE.
4. NON-RESIDENTS WILL NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE NO MATTER HOW LONG THEY ARE HERE.
5. NON-CITIZENS WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO HOLD POLITICAL OFFICE.
6. FOREIGNERS WILL NOT BE A BURDEN TO TAXPAYERS ... NO WELFARE, NO FOOD STAMPS, NO HEALTH CARE, OR OTHER GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS. ANY BURDEN WILL BE DEPORTED.
7. FOREIGNERS CAN INVEST IN THIS COUNTRY, BUT IT MUST BE AN AMOUNT AT LEAST EQUAL TO 40,000 TIMES THE DAILY MINIMUM WAGE.
8. IF FOREIGNERS COME HERE AND BUY LAND ... OPTIONS WILL BE RESTRICTED. CERTAIN PARCELS INCLUDING WATERFRONT PROPERTY ARE RESERVED FOR CITZENS NATURALLY BORN INTO THIS COUNTRY.
9. FOREIGNERS MAY HAVE NO PROTESTS; NO DEMONSTRATIONS, NO WAVING OF A FOREIGN FLAG,NO POLITICAL ORGANIZING, NO BAD-MOUTHING OUR PRESIDENT OR HIS POLICIES. THESE WILL LEAD TO DEPORTATION.
10. IF YOU DO COME TO THIS COUNTRY ILLEGALLY, YOU WILL BE ACTIVELY HUNTED AND WHEN CAUGHT, SENT TO JAIL UNTIL YOUR DEPORTATION CAN BE ARRANGED. ALL ASSETS WILL BE TAKEN FROM YOU ************** TOO STRICT? ...... tHE ABOVE LAWS ARE CURRENT IMMIGRATION LAWS OF mexico!!
NOW, how can we get these laws to be America's immigration laws???
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