By Keith Burton – GulfCoastNews.com Filed 4/11/05
When the state legislature ended its 2005 session, the only measure dealing with illegal immigration died in committee. This is a shameful act by our state’s leadership on one of the most important issues facing our state and nation.
Concurrent Resolution 505, that was introduced by Rankin County Senator Dean Kirby, a Republican, died in the Senate Rules Committee, after languishing there for months.
"I was really disappointed that it wasn't even looked at in the committee and brought to the floor," said Kirby in an interview with GCN. "This is something that we need to get a handle on now. I think we had so many concerns in the legislature that this one was not something they wanted to look at."
The resolution was titled:
“A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION TO MEMORIALIZE CONGRESS TO ASSIST THE STATES IN RESPONDING TO THE OVERWHELMING PROBLEM OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.”
Even so, the resolution really didn’t do much. It just noted that the state was bearing the costs of the national government’s refusal to act on illegal immigration and called on the Congress to act. That the measure never came out of committee is yet a continuing example of the failure of politicians at every level to act on this important and costly issue.
Across the nation, illegal immigration is driving the costs of government sky high in increased services to support illegal immigration. Many states are just now trying to address the problem, but Mississippi doesn’t seem to be among them.
Illegal immigration in Mississippi hasn’t reached the levels as in other states, but Mississippi is among the top five states in the rate of growth of illegal immigrants. Estimates by state officials now put the number of illegal immigrants well over 90,000 people. This is far higher than a recent study using 2003 data that had illegals at around 25,000 to 35,000 in the state; and far more than the 6,000 illegals the U.S. Census reported in 2000.
Perhaps lawmakers are concerned that any effort to act on the illegal immigration problem would be considered racist and give the state yet another beating for its history. But Mississippi, a state that has more black elected officials than any other state in the nation, has nothing to be ashamed of today regarding progress in race relations. Instead, illegal immigration could undermine that progress in driving the cost of government up so high that services to those residents that need help would have to be cut. That is already happening in our state.
Mississippi is not a wealthy state. Even though economic progress is occurring, the number of jobs, the costs of services and the state’s ability to provide those services already are being impacted by the rapidly increasing numbers of illegal immigrants, mostly from Mexico. Studies show that increases in illegal immigration drive down wages and put citizens out of jobs. Mississippi cannot tolerate this type of future. Our state is not one that has a surplus of jobs.
What our state's lawmakers fail to see is that the illegal immigration problem represents yet another major effort by the centralized national government to usurp the rights of states. The national government's failure to address illegal immigration will likely result in more power for Washington and less for Mississippi and you. How is this, you ask?
The leading effort the central government wants to implement to control illegal immigration is to begin issuing a national ID card in replacement of drivers licenses. States currently control the issuing of driver's licenses. These new national ID cards would have to be used for you to travel, get a job, and for most identification.
It isn't too hard to imagine that such as system is just a vote away from ending what we know as a free nation. If any state should be fighting hardest for freedom, it is Mississippi.
The fact that the legislature failed to consider even this one and only measure over illegal immigration does not bode well for our leadership and earns almost all of them membership in The Hall of Shame. Meanwhile, maybe we all should be getting our papers in order.