Reaction Mixed To Mississippi's New Verification Law - - The News for South Mississippi

Reaction Mixed To Mississippi's New Verification Law

BILOXI (WLOX) -- A day after the governor signed Mississippi's new immigration law, people on both sides of the debate are letting their opinions be known. The new law requires employers use a federal system to verify whether workers have permission to hold jobs in the country.

Cuban immigrant Nelvis Raspado says since moving to the Mississippi coast to find work, she always gets the same question from potential employers. 

Speaking in Spanish, Nelvis Raspado told WLOX's Danielle Thomas, "The first thing they ask us is if we have legal papers."

The Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance says legal immigrants like Raspado are the ones who will likely suffer under Mississippi's new requirement that employers use the federal E-verify system.

"The records are not updated at all," said organizing coordinator Vicky Cintra. "We've had people that are legally present that have permits to work, people that have residency, people that are citizens have been fired from their jobs and lost wages for weeks because of this program."

Back in May, the Mississippi Federation for Immigration Reform and Enforcement held a demonstration in Jackson. On the group's website, it posted a much different reaction to the new law.

It read, "We have won a huge victory in Mississippi. Now Mississippi follows the lead of other states that have passed strict illegal immigration bills where illegal aliens are packing up and fleeing those states in droves. We can now see the same results in Mississippi!"

Officials at MIRA say other states that have passed immigration reforms are starting to see lawsuits, and MIRA says Mississippi can expect the same.

Cintra said, "The biggest comment is they didn't have a problem when Katrina hit. Everybody wanted us here. Everybody hugged us. Everybody thanked us. Everybody wanted us to clean up the mess. But now that the mess is cleaned up, nobody wants us as neighbors."

The new immigration law takes effect in July, but will initially apply only to companies with 250 or more employees.

by Danielle Thomas

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