Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant (L). AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is ready to assist in President Donald Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration, but some of his fellow Republicans are less than eager to cooperate.
Bryant contends that beefed up enforcement at the federal level can only help states.
“The federal law is the federal law,” Bryant told Newsmax while visiting Washington for the National Governors Association winter meeting this weekend. “You see now that Immigration and Customs Enforcement is simply enforcing the federal laws. I like to remind people, if we are going to ignore these laws, they need to tell us what other laws we need to ignore.”
In late January, Trump signed a series of executive orders that included building a wall on the southern border, increasing interior enforcement and scaling back federal funding for sanctuary cities. Trump signed another executive order restricting immigration from seven Middle Eastern countries, which several Democratic states have sued to stop.
“We are now working on a bill that would deny any support from sanctuary cities and sanctuary universities,” Bryant said. “We simply believe this is a nation of laws and we should abide by them.”
Border state Republican governors have weighed in. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott praised Trump’s actions. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey met earlier this month with Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and the two did an hourlong tour of the border fence near the city. Florida Gov. Rick Scott said the current immigration system is a “mess.”
However, Vermont’s Republican Gov. Phil Scott is putting a council together to push back against Trump’s executive orders on enforcement and funding.
“We want to take a little bit of a pause in looking at the executive order, in looking at federal overreach in terms of the Constitution, I think the Fourth and Tenth Amendment in particularly,” Scott told Newsmax. “I want to make sure that we protect our Constitution because it may be the Fourth and the Tenth this time, but it sets precedent. In four years, it could be the Second Amendment and I treasure that one as well.”
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat and NGA chairman, criticized ICE for making arrests in Fairfax, Virginia, and is meeting with Kelly on Sunday.
“We can’t have people driven underground. We do have basic civil liberties we need to protect,” McAuliffe told Newsmax. “We do not want to see people just randomly stopped without any due cause or due process.”
NGA Republican vice chairman, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, is treading carefully in his state with a high immigrant population, even reviewing a Washington state policy barring state agencies from arresting illegal immigrants for no other reason than entering the country illegally.
“I can speak for all of the governors,” Sandoval told Newsmax. “We are paying close attention to what the president is doing with regard to his immigration policies. We’ve had a chance to meet with the secretary of homeland security and I know there is ongoing discussion, particularly with Mexico but across the world.”