Alien Bill Moving Quietly Through Legislature
by Keith Burton - GulfCoastNews.com Filed 3/4/07
Amidst the controversy over illegal aliens pouring into Mississippi since Hurricane Katrina, a single bill remains under consideration by state lawmakers that would require labor on government contracts to be performed by U.S. citizens or legal aliens. Similar bills involving the illegal immigration issue have failed to pass in the legislature.
The measure, titled SB2897 has managed to pass through opposition and could actually become law if eventually signed by the Governor. Governor Haley Barbour has stated publicly that immigrant labor has been a positive factor for the state economically and for helping to rebuild the Katrina-damaged coast. But critics of immigrant labor say the workers depress pay and take jobs that could go to citizens and state residents.
State lawmakers, many who face re-election, are hearing from constituents their concerns over illegal immigrant workers pouring into the state and lawmakers want to appear strong on the issue. The total number of illegal aliens in Mississippi is unknown, but it is a rare town in the state where Hispanic immigrants cannot be found.
The immigrant problem has created a firestorm of concern across the nation, but particularly in southern states and states that border Mexico. While not all the illegal immigrants are from Mexico, the majority do come from that economically troubled nation.
The bill would require contractors on public projects to verify that their workers are citizens or registered aliens.
The text of the measure follows:
Title: AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 31-5-17, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE LABOR USED ON PUBLIC WORKS TO BE PERFORMED BY WORKMEN AND LABORERS WHO ARE LEGAL CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES OR LEGAL ALIENS; TO AMEND SECTION 31-5-19, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE PUBLIC WORK CONTRACTS TO INCLUDE A PROVISION REQUIRING THE CONTRACTOR TO BE IN COMPLIANCE WITH FEDERAL AND STATE LAWS; TO AMEND SECTION 31-5-21, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE PENALTY FOR VIOLATING SUCH LABOR REQUIREMENTS ON PUBLIC WORKS; TO CREATE A NEW CODE SECTION TO REQUIRE LABOR USED UNDER PUBLIC CONTRACTS OF ANY KIND TO BE PERFORMED BY WORKMEN AND LABORERS WHO ARE LEGAL CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES OR LEGAL ALIENS; TO AMEND SECTIONS 31-7-9, 25-9-120 AND 25-53-5, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE CERTAIN AGENCIES TO ADOPT RULES AND REGULATIONS TO CARRY OUT THE PURPOSES OF THIS ACT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.