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Immigration Protest in Jackson Last Week a Remarkable Event
by Keith Burton - GCN 6/5/07

Last Thursday, something rare in Mississippi occurred. It was a protest over what is happening in Washington and in Mississippi over illegal immigration.

What is rare is that the event took place at all. Mississippi is not known as a state where protests are often seen. This one, directly in front of the office of popular Sen. Trent Lott, the U.S. Senate minority whip and the second most powerful lawmaker in the Senate. Lott had told the news media that he didn't think there was a lot of concern in Mississippi over the illegal immigration issue. He found out that his view was not true.

The U.S. Senate is debating a bill that would largely provide amnesty for the estimated 12 to 20 million illegal aliens working in the U.S. Just this week, the Congressional Budget Office said the Senate's immigration bill will cut annual illegal immigration by just 25 percent, and the bill's new guest-worker program could lead to at least 500,000 more illegal aliens within a decade.

The protest was organized by the Mississippi Federation for Immigration Reform and Enforcement (MFIRE), which for the past several years has sought in the state legislature, with no success, to make reforms tied to the sharply increasing numbers of illegal immigrants coming into Mississippi. The state leads the nation in the increase in illegal aliens on a per capita basis, though Mississippi does not have nearly the number of illegal aliens, mostly from Mexico, as in other states. Since Hurricane Katrina, the number of Hispanics in Mississippi has sharply increased, most working in construction. But there are also many illegal aliens in small towns throughout Mississippi working on farms, in construction and in the poultry industry.

The MFIRE/Eagle Forum protest from 11:00 a.m. to noon at Senator Trent Lott's downtown Jackson office and drew approximately 70 people with many persons driving past on Capitol Street honking their horns and giving a thumbs up. Several people spontaneously joined the protest when they saw it taking place.

The sheer fact that the protest occurred at all is remarkable in that it was only announced a few days earlier after Lott had made his remarks, which were covered by numerous newspapers around the country. On the Coast, the protest was largely unreported with few pictures and no video of the event.

The photos taken at the protest last Thursday were provided to GCN by MFIRE.



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