The ACLU of Mississippi denounces the actions of Governor Bryant in joining the federal law suit against the Obama administration over its plan to stop deporting many young illegal immigrants and grant them work permits.

Using well-established executive authority, the administration temporarily spared youth educated in America’s schools from removal from the United States. Those who will be eligible for “deferred action” for two years (subject to renewal) include people who arrived in the U.S. before age 16, are younger than 30, have been in the U.S. for at least five continuous years, graduated from a U.S. high school or earned a GED or served in the U.S. armed forces, and “have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.”

“The President’s executive order had given numerous young people, many of whom came to the United States as babes in arms, the opportunity to pursue the American dream,” said Nancy Kohsin-Kintigh, Program Director at the ACLU of Mississippi. “Now, Governor Bryant is trying to snatch that opportunity away from them. If Governor Bryant is truly concerned about the economic impact of undocumented immigrants, why would he deny these young people the opportunity to get work permits and become taxpayers”?

“The ACLU of Mississippi has joined with partners around the state to provide information to young people who may be eligible for the deferred action, said Bear Atwood, Legal Director of the ACLU of Mississippi. “This stop-gap measure will not provide a path to citizenship, but it will provide many young people who grew up in Mississippi the opportunity to be productive members of our community.”

The ACLU works to protect the rights of immigrants across the country. Upholding the rights of immigrants is important to us all. When the government has the power to deny legal rights and due process to one vulnerable group, everyone's rights are at risk. Non-citizens are often the first and most vulnerable targets of government abuse. Citizens and non-citizens are all protected by the Constitution.

The ACLU of Mississippi will be working to defeat any proposed legislation that unconstitutionally targets immigrants for racial profiling similar to HB 488 that was defeated last year.