JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is ordering state agencies not to provide public benefits to immigrants receiving deferred deportation status from the federal government — an order that reinforces current state law.
Legislators, meanwhile, held a lengthy public hearing Thursday about whether Mississippi should enact a new law allowing law officers to check people's immigration status during traffic stops or other encounters, similar to laws in Arizona and Alabama.
Bryant, a Republican, issued an executive order hours before a legislative committee met. He has received support from tea party groups for years by saying he wants to tighten immigration enforcement because he believes the federal government has done a poor job.
President Barack Obama recently issued an executive order that defers deportation for immigrants who are 30 or younger and entered the U.S. before they were 16. Such immigrants can apply for work permits.