JACKSON, Miss.- Earlier this week Governor Bryant wrote a letter to President Obama requesting that his office be informed if the federal government planned to house significant numbers of illegal immigrant children in the state, saying he was against it on the grounds that Mississippi cannot afford it. Wednesday, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D) wrote Obama a letter that said the opposite saying he wanted to help the children immigrants. Thursday, Mississippi Immigration Rights Alliance (MIRA) held a press conference acting as advocates for the immigrant children crossing over the borders.
Wednesday, Thompson said that he endorsed housing children in the state, and would be willing to help “facilitate partnerships” between the federal government and local facilities. He said in the letter that he has spoken to a number of “directors of facilities” in the state who have stated that they have space available and they have expressed willingness to house and care for the children.
Thursday, MIRA said the same thing. “We need to welcome these children. These children need to be treated as real human beings. Many of them are fleeing situations that are making these kids refugees.” Reverend and spokesperson for MIRA said, “We in Mississippi, as the hospitality state need to be saying, welcome, come be with us, we will help you sort out your problems and if there’s a way we can help you solve them, we will do that.”
Members of MIRA said they do not agree with Governor Bryant’s letter to the president and that we should not turn these children away and send them back over the borders, but help them. One member said, “They are human, they are like us. How can you turn them away when they need our help?”
Another member said, “This is no different than when Mississippi came together to help those devastated by hurricane Katrina. These children need our help in this crisis too.”
MIRA says, “We already spend more on immigration enforcement than all other law enforcement agencies of the Federal government combined. Billions more for streamlining deportations, is not the humanitarian responses we need. We should instead provide refuge for those children who are the victims of our past destructive policies. What we need is an end to policies that have produced and unprecedented 400,000 deportations a year. In the long run, we need to end the free trade and intervention policies that cause poverty and forced migration.”