Controversial immigration law moving through Miss. legislature - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Controversial immigration law moving through Miss. legislature

(WMC-TV) - The same day that Mississippi's governor made harsh, new comments about illegal immigrants, priests came out against a proposed immigration law in the state.

Critics say Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is targeting Latinos with the new law, but he says that's not the case.

However, he also says the state should be vigilant against the possibility of violence in Mexico and other Latin American countries spilling across the border.

Kathryn Piazza's father immigrated with his family to Mississippi from Lebanon in 1911. They were never illegal immigrants.

"I expect others to come into this country legally, or don't come," she said.

Piazza said it is possible to gain U.S. citizenship; it just takes effort.

She went to the state capitol Wednesday to hear Gov. Bryant speak out in support of House Bill 488, which would allow law enforcement officers to inquire about an individual's immigration documentation if they're pulled over for an offense.

Bryant says there are legal ways for workers to come to the country and earn money.

"There is a way to get a temporary worker here in the U.S.," he said. "The people we're talking about don't want to go through that process."

But many wonder if the new law would be fair.

"It infringes on the rights people have to the right of life, liberty," said Bishop Joseph Latino, of the Catholic Diocese of Jackson.

He says even undocumented individuals have rights under the U.S. Constitution and states should not interfere in immigration issues.

"I think the federal government has the responsibility with regards to immigrants who came to this country, the rules and regulations that are imposed on immigrants," he said.

However, others argue that the federal government is ignoring immigration laws, leaving the states to pay the price.

The bill has passed out of committee, but has not yet faced a vote before the full house.

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