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Alabama Passes Nation’s Toughest Immigration Law

Alabama Passes Nation’s Toughest Immigration Law

Alabama’s governor has signed what he billed as tough illegal immigration legislation, requiring police to check the status of anyone they suspect may be in the country illegally when stopped for another reason.

The bill, due to take effect on Sept. 1, was signed into law by Republican Governor Robert Bentley on Thursday, June 9.

Its passage makes Alabama the latest in a series of states, including Georgia and Arizona, to enact controversial new laws aimed at tackling illegal immigration.

Following On Immigration Laws In Arizona And Georgia

Care2′s Jessica Pieklo wrote about the Georgia law here. Despite judicial losses in both Arizona and Utah, Gov. Nathan Deal (R) of Georgia signed into law one of the nation’s toughest immigration measures.

The law is similar to Arizona’s SB 1070 and allows local law enforcement to question suspects about their immigration status, including demanding proof of citizenship during a stop.  Should that documentation not sufficiently satisfy law enforcement concerns, the law empowers them to take suspects to jail where federal officials could begin the deportation process.

And now the Alabama bill, which promises to be even tougher.

Civil rights groups and the Mexican government have been quick to condemn the move.

Suspicions If A Person Might Be An Unauthorized Alien

According to a fact sheet presented by Alabama House Republicans, the bill will require law enforcement officers “to attempt to determine the immigration status of a person who they suspect is an unauthorized alien of this country”.

The legislation also makes it a criminal offense to provide transport or housing to an illegal immigrant. The state will have to check the citizenship of students, and any business that knowingly employs an illegal immigrant will be penalized.

Legislation “Good For Alabama”

Republican state Rep. John Merrill told CNN he had no hesitation in backing the legislation, saying it is “good for Alabama” because it will reduce illegal immigration to the state.

He rejected suggestions the law is discriminatory, and said he is confident it was drafted in such a way that it will survive legal challenges.

The legislation is intended to “provide equal opportunities for all people who want to come to Alabama legally,” he added.

But critics say it has far-reaching consequences and will have a particular impact on young people because it requires the state to check the citizenship of all those seeking to enroll in schools.

Will Students Be Afraid?

The measure will require public schools to determine the citizenship status of students — a provision not included in an Arizona law that has been at the forefront of actions by several states to curb illegal immigration.

Parents of foreign-born public school students would be required to report their immigration status to school officials. And public schools would have to report how many legal and illegal immigrants they enroll and how much is spent to educate undocumented students.

Law To Take Effect September 1

The law, which is scheduled to take effect September 1, requires businesses to use a database called E-Verify to confirm the immigration status of new employees.

Earlier the SPLC issued a statement saying the state stood to lose “millions more in lost tax revenue from Alabama businesses that will bear the brunt of boycotts of Alabama goods and services and lost sales to documented and undocumented immigrants who flee the state rather than deal with racial profiling and the state’s anti-immigrant climate.”

Meanwhile, Arizona’s governor said last month she would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court after portions of the state’s new immigration law were blocked by federal courts.

The Arizona bill catapulted the issue onto the national stage last year, drawing a lawsuit from the U.S. Department of Justice, which argues that the law is unconstitutional.

Should Immigration Policy Be A Federal Issue?

Apparently under this bill we’re going to keep illegal immigrant students out of all public colleges so none of them, regardless of how smart or how hard they work, will be able to get the education they would need to become teachers, engineers, doctors, nurses and entrepreneurs.

Illegal immigration has been a serious problem for years. But immigration policy is, or should be, a federal issue. Leaving national immigration policy up to Arizona, Alabama and the other 48 states is no solution.

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Photo Credit: Shoshanah via Creative Commons

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104 comments

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9:34PM PDT on Oct 26, 2012

Wow.

9:33PM PDT on Oct 26, 2012

Wow.

4:14PM PDT on Oct 12, 2011

First off, the poll isn't a yes or no question. Secondly, these laws infuriate and sadden me beyond words. If Native Americans had instituted such laws when illegal immigrants came where would America be now??? How is it that people have such short-term/selective memories and such apathy towards mankind?!

12:53PM PDT on Oct 6, 2011

Hey Charles- that's cool. Care 2 recently made some changes. One of those, apparently, is alerting people to new comments as if they were directly to that person. For instance, every single reply to this thread, from every single person, appears as if it was made directly to me (on my end). Each & every single one, a separate reply, to me, from them. Not sure why this is so & I wish it could be changed. I thought the same thing as you, at first. But many are obviously relies to other people. It used to be that one would receive one notification when a person replied to the thread & more people could've replied, w/out one getting any more notices. That is, no more notices until they revisited the board- much better IMO. There was also a character counter to let you know when/if part of your post would be cut off...

I'm not sure how long you've been on here, but that was an easy mistake to make- but no, I did not reply to you directly or try to imply anything of the sort. So, hopefully we're good :-)

6:13AM PDT on Oct 6, 2011

Robby C , I received an e-mail from Care2 saying Robby has sent you a message. It contained the statement that you had previously made in Care2 , that I hadn't seen or read. I have no idea why Care2 sent me the message. But I thought you misunderstood what I had said or confused me with someone else.

9:05PM PDT on Oct 5, 2011

Charles S - what are you talking about? I sent you no such message... Please show me where I said something in print or anything thereof, as I can't even find where I responded to you in this thread, much less sent you a message... I'm thinking you may have me confused w/someone else, so please stand up & say so either way. If I have sent something, I'll gladly own up to it, but I didn't sent anything to you that I can find &/or remember....

11:53AM PDT on Oct 5, 2011

Robby C , sent me a message , as if I supported illegal immigrants , which I don't. Illegal is illegal My previous comments alluded to the fact that someone is providing them jobs , or there would be no reason for them to come here. Many of the people who are making the most noise about illegal immigrants are the same people who are using them.
As far as Adobe H's comment about illegal immigrants doing jobs that Americans won't do it is probably true. Theydo jobs that Americans won't do because of the low wages and conditions that those people work under. But they also take many good construction jobs that Americans previously held. They have caused the lowering of wages and benefits that were traditional in construction.
In my area , you can see them lined up in Home Depot , and Lowes parking lots and contractors hire them for a day , or a job. I would bet it is the same in many other areas of the country. Hire americans , and pay American wages , and there won't be any illegal immigrants.

10:35AM PDT on Oct 5, 2011

Adobe H- if these "wetbacks" as you put it, are all so eager to work legally, etc, then why can't they come over here legally & do it? Why don't they just start out the legal way to begin with...? I just don't get it...

9:21AM PDT on Oct 5, 2011

I support Alabama's law 100%. The world has 7 billiion people and we have 320 million people and have 30 million Americans who have no jobs. Amnesty was done by Reagon in 1986, and it did nothing but encourage illegal immigration. The only solution is tough Arizona style enforcement on a national level. When you get stopped for a speeding ticket, the police check your driver's license to see if you have warrants or criminal convictions, so what is wrong with police checking people they suspect to be illegal aliens to make sure that they are in this country legally. We have 12-20 million illegal aliens in this country and it's time that we enforce the tough immigration laws that other countries like Mexico have enforced for years. Mexico has had a very tough illegal immigration law for years, and that is why they have fewer problems than we do. Because they enforce the law. and nobody accusses them of being racist. If we don't enforce the law, we will have 40 million illegal aliens in 10 years instead of the 20 million we have now.

7:43PM PDT on Jun 13, 2011

So how many Americans are going to have to end up in detained status before they realize this is not only a bad idea but will come with a hefty price tag? Not that some contract human management company wont be willing to step up and take money to do a sloppy and shameful job of holding people for processing.

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