Alabama Lawmakers Support New Immigration Law Amid Outrage
The state of Alabama with its historic significance as the birthplace of the American civil rights movement is ready to pave way for a new immigration movement.
The law makers of Alabama have thrown their weight behind the campaign to revoke HB 56, the state's new immigration law. While Alabama's extreme anti-immigration bill, HB 56, has been upheld in court after blocking some of the most controversial aspects there has been a feeling of fear in the states immigrant community with thousands of immigrants including African Americans and Latinos have started moving out of the state leaving their jobs and houses.
Alabama HB56: HB56 is Alabama's new immigration law written by Kris Kobach the current Kansas secretary of state and passed by Alabama's Republican-controlled legislature. According to the law, police are allowed to racially profile anyone they suspect of being illegal, while all contracts with undocumented immigrants would be deemed invalid. The new law also makes it illegal for any undocumented immigrant to apply for a driver's license or a job. The law also requires businesses to use a database called E-Verify to confirm the immigration status of new employees.
Similarities with Arizona HB1070: While most Immigration rights advocates have called the new law draconian, they feel that it goes even beyond the Arizona HB 107 law which was considered to be one of the harshest laws before HB56 was passed. But while there are similarities, Alabama's law makes it mandatory for public schools to determine, by review of birth certificates or sworn affidavits, the legal residency status of students. It is not a surprise then that Jan Brewer, the Arizona governor who had passed the state' HB1070 law said she was encouraged by Alabama’s lawmakers for passing the law
Divided Opinion: The opinion on the HB56 law has been quite polarized. While some lawmakers have praised Alabama’s lawmakers for passing the law which they say is the need of the hour and immigrants wanting to work in the United States must go back to their home countries and apply for temporary work visas to enter legally, others believe that HB56 is a draconian law and the country must have some central immigration policy rather than state centric. Most farmers in the state have also objected to the law, as they have had to loose parts of their harvest because of lack of migrant workers.
Immigrants Dejected: Most Latinos and African American immigrants who form are a large community in Alabama fear that the new law might be used as an instrument of racial discrimination. Birmingham Mayor William Bell went a step further and told Democratic members of Congress that the legislation favors apartheid and Jim Crow laws. African American leaders feel that not only is the law going to make it harder for immigrants but it would also hurt the economy and the social fabric of the state in the long term. The sentiment is shared by democrat leaders as well who believe that America's Immigration policy should do justice and fairness to the rich history of immigrants in the United States of America unlike the draconian HB56.