St. Louis Taunts Alabama on Immigration Law
The St. Louis-based Post-Dispatch newspaper has published a taunting editorial in the form of an open letter to Mercedes-Benz, suggesting they move manufacturing to Missouri.
This follows the embarrassing arrest of a Mercedes executive under Alabama’s harsh immigration law.
Since that arrest, there’s been another car company manager arrest. This time from another of the state’s big investors, Honda.
He was carrying his working visa, passport and an international driving license but this wasn’t enough under the new law to avoid him being ticketed, though unlike the Mercedes executive, he wasn’t taken to jail. A judge later dismissed the ticket.
Alabama law enforcement are putting all cops through four hours of training because the immigration law (which has had several clauses successfully challenged in court) has ’caused confusion across the state,’ according to Alan Benefield, head of the Alabama Police Officers’ Standards and Training Commission.
The arrests have led the Wall Street Journal to report that:
Negative publicity stemming from Alabama’s new anti-illegal immigrant law threatens to complicate the state’s efforts to continue luring foreign investment, some business leaders say.
Honda has 4,000 employees in Alabama with an investment of about $1.4 billion.
Agricultural is already devastated, with tomatoes rotting in the fields after Hispanic pickers fled.
Now the Birmingham Post reports that:
Alabama’s construction industry is losing jobs faster than almost every state in the nation, and industry experts say some of the losses are due to the state’s strict new immigration law.
Joey Kennedy writes for The Birmingham News that it isn’t just undocumented workers fleeing which is causing labor shortages, but documented ones who don’t want harassment and that other Alabamans aren’t stepping in to fill vacated jobs.
But according to Republican Gov. Robert Bentley, everything’s fine.
“We have had some unfortunate incidents that certainly look bad. But we are continuing to recruit jobs to the state. We have announcements that will be coming up very soon,” Bentley said in response to questions about the arrests.
And despite all the negative reporting, new polling shows that Alabamans continue to support the law, although polls suggest that many want the law revised.
Mocking this sunshine opinion on the law’s impact, The Post-Dispatch writes to Alabama’s big job providers:
Our state has many advantages over Alabama. We are the Show-Me State, not the “Show me your papers” state. Our Legislature is hostile on the immigration issue, but not as hostile as Alabama’s or Arizona’s.
Unlike in Alabama, our law enforcement officials won’t check immigration status unless presenting you for incarceration on other offenses. In St. Louis, we not only welcome immigrants (outside of Valley Park), but we have a proud German heritage.
In contrast with Alabama, your bosses and workers will get comfortable, gentle, leisurely treatment, they write, using the German word:
You’ve got two choices. Either ask your executives to carry their immigration papers at all times, or move to a state that understands gemüchlichkeit.
Picture by Casey Serin