Illegal immigration law proposal criticized by former lawmaker

By Mike McDaniel - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - As a state legislative committee hears a proposal on an illegal immigration law similar to the one in Arizona, one former Pine belt lawmaker is warning legislators about potential impacts to industry.

Former state representative Gene Saucier says by passing a law which would give law enforcement power to check papers on suspected illegal immigrants, a large legal workforce in Mississippi would dry up.

Saucier, a tree farmer, says when it comes to jobs like planting tress and chicken processing, most local folks won't do the job, leaving those employers looking for Hispanics who are willing to do the work.

Passing such a law, Saucier says, is more of a political move than anything and would become a scare tactic, filled with harassment for legitimate immigrants.

"Even the legal ones won't come here, so you're going to have to people that come in here and plant our trees and pick our blueberries and what, they won't come to Mississippi, I guarantee you they will not come to Mississippi," said Saucier. "So you're talking about two large industries right there that you just don't have anybody to work."

Saucier says he believes if such a law is passed by the legislature, the Governor would most likely veto it.

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