Mississippi was the very first state that I took a look at last year.
Last September, the Mississippi Senate was holding hearings about the possibility of adopting an Arizona-style immigration law. State Sen. Joey Fillingane was spearheading that effort.
I was impressed by what I saw going on there. I pointed out at the time that the old guard of Republicans like Trent Lott were being cycled out and that a new crop of Republicans like Fillingane were on the rise. They were cooperating with the Tea Party and grassroots organizations like MFire to bring new restrictionist laws to Mississippi.
This was a month before the midterm elections.
I said back then:
“Mississippi is a microcosm of a larger truth: working within the mainstream, communicating with people in terms of their own experience, starting where people are at today, prioritizing organization over rhetoric, and using polarization to move the goal posts has consistently been shown to work.”
In December, I took a closer look at Mississippi. In the midterm elections, Mississippi voters threw two Democratic congressmen out of office. Both Mississippi Senators and the Republican Mississippi delegation in the House voted against the DREAM Act.
Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant is running for Governor of Mississippi in 2011 as a Jan Brewer-style candidate. In the meantime, Boss Hogg Haley Barbour has already said he would sign an Arizona-style immigration law if it crosses his desk.
We have known for several months now that Mississippi is one of the most likely states to pass an Arizona-style immigration law in 2011. Now we have cleared the first major hurdle.
Earlier this afternoon, the Mississippi Senate passed an Arizona-style immigration law. The bill passed 34 to 15 after four hours of debate. Sen. Fillingane succeeded in pushing the bill through committee and through a critical floor vote.
Tea Party activists in Mississippi attended a Senate committee meeting to show support for the bill. They cheered from the gallery as one Democratic attempt after another to kill the bill with amendments failed.
The restrictionist package deal also includes an extension of E-Verify, tougher penalties for employers of illegal aliens, and criminalizes sanctuary cities.
The legislation now heads to the Mississippi House where it faces an uncertain fate. Undoubtedly, House Democrats will attempt to obstruct passage as they did in the Senate.
Chalk up another one for working within the system.
I will be tuning into Radio Free Mississippi tomorrow morning to hear the reaction of Jim Giles and the “hardcore nucleus” to the “worthless conservative cowards” who are doing the job the vanguard is unwilling to do.
It should be a laugh riot.
Editor’s Note: If you live in Mississippi, don’t forget to contact your state representative in the Mississippi House and urge them to support this bill.