By David Bacon, The Nation
April 20, 2012
Jackson, Mississippi--In early April, an anti-immigrant bill like those that swept through legislatures in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina was stopped cold in Mississippi. That wasn’t supposed to happen. Tea Party Republicans were confident they’d roll over any opposition. They’d brought Kris Kobach, the Kansas Secretary of State who co-authored Arizona’s SB 1070, into Jackson, to push for the Mississippi bill. The American Legislative Exchange Council, which designs and introduces similar bills into legislatures across the country, had its agents on the scene.
Their timing seemed unbeatable. Last November Republicans took control of the state House of Representatives for the first time since Reconstruction. Mississippi was one of the last Southern states in which Democrats controlled the legislature, and the turnover is a final triumph of Reagan and Nixon’s Southern Strategy. And the Republicans who took power weren’t just any Republicans. Haley Barbour, now ironically considered a “moderate Republican,” had stepped down as governor. Voters replaced him with an anti-immigrant successor, Phil Bryant, whose venom toward the foreign-born rivals Lou Dobbs. [...]
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