Over the last few years, a quiet but powerful alliance in Mississippi of African-American lawmakers, immigrant rights advocates and labor unions had successfully defeated a series of punitive bills aimed at the state’s fast-growing Latino and new immigrant population.
But last month, that string of victories came to an end. Gov. Haley Barbour signed into law a bill with the most far-reaching employer sanctions in the United States.
Behind the scenes, the bill was considered not just a defeat for immigrant rights advocates, but was also a blow to the progressive coalition that was just beginning to blossom in Mississippi.