Southern States Enact Anti-Immigration Laws

Judges Conference

In recent years, the state of Alabama enacted the strictest anti-immigrant law. The law will take effect in September. It is the fifth state to pass anti-immigration law. Some have deemed Alabama’s anti-immigration law to be the most comprehensive/extreme in the nation. To date, the anti-immigration laws have not been fully implemented due to legal challenges.

“Alabama has brazenly enacted this law despite the clear writing on the wall: Federal courts have stopped each and every one of these discriminatory laws from going into effect,” said Cecilia Wang, director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. “Local Alabama communities and people across the country are shocked and dismayed by the state’s effort to erode our civil rights and fundamental American values.”

It has been reported that the Alabama anti-immigration bill (HB 56) replicates some portions of Arizona’s anti-immigration law. Alabama’s anti-immigration law
would:
•Allow local law enforcement to demand papers from and detain those they believe are in the country illegally.
•Make it a crime for undocumented immigrants to hold a job in Alabama, and make it a crime for any immigrant in the state to be caught without documentation proving status.
•Make it illegal to sign a contract with undocumented immigrants, to knowingly rent property to them, to knowingly hire them for jobs.
•Require businesses to use E-Verify, the government database of names, to check employees’ legal status.
•Mandate that parents report the immigration status of their children to public schools to assist the schools to: maintain legal status records on all their students; and document the costs of educating undocumented children.

Many community leaders oppose the anti-immigration law for a range of reasons. “This legislation not only violates our values as a community but will also create astronomical costs at a time when our state can least afford it,” said Shay Farley, Legal Director, Alabama Appleseed. “If these legislators have their way, millions of taxpayer dollars will be squandered and our already underwater state economy will take another serious hit.”

For further information about anti-immigration laws, visit the website for the Southern Poverty Law Center, ACLU, the National Immigration Law Center, National
Immigration Forum, or the Asian American Justice Center.

Sources: Alabama Coalition for Immigration Justice Press Release, National Immigration Forum, Southern Poverty Law Center, ACLU, the National Immigration Law Center, the Asian American Justice Center,“Anti-immigration law march in Birmingham draws a crowd and keeps commenters divided, too”, The Birmingham News, June 26, 2011, “Report: Anti-Immigration Law Cost Millions, Jamilah King, COLORLINES, Thursday, January 27, 2011, Huffington Post, and America’s Voice on Line, “Alabama anti-immigration law facing court challenge”, Tom Baxter, Southern Political Report, July 8, 2011, “HB 56: Alabama May Pass Nation’s Harshest Anti-Immigrant Law”, Nsenga Burton, the Root, June 9, 2011.

Photo Credit Microsoft Clip Art

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