Alabama Passes “Get Tough” Immigration Enforcement Law

Written by on June 6, 2011 in Enforcement, Legislation, State and Local with 5 Comments

Like Arizona, Utah and Georgia before it, Alabama became the fourth state to pass Arizona-style immigration enforcement legislation—legislation that in some aspects goes beyond Arizona’s immigration law. Last week, Alabama’s Republican-controlled House and Senate passed HB 56, a bill which, among other things, authorizes local police to inquire about the immigration status of anyone they “reasonably suspect” is not authorized to be in the country during a stop. Who is “reasonably suspicious?” Apparently those without driver’s licenses, those who “act nervously,” and those whose vehicle tags don’t match registration records.

In addition, Alabama’s HB 56 bars undocumented students from enrolling in public colleges and requires Alabama public schools to determine the immigration status of their students, publish the total number of enrolled immigrants, regardless of status, and report on any costs associate with the education of undocumented immigrant children.

The bill also makes it a crime to knowingly rent to, transport or harbor undocumented immigrants, makes it illegal for an undocumented immigrant to apply for a job, requires all Alabama employers to use E-verify to determine the legal status of their workers and prevents cities from passing legislation to protect undocumented immigrants.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley is expected to sign the bill, which would go into effect January 2012. Some Democrats in the state, like state Sen. Linda Coleman of Birmingham, said the bill will lead to discrimination. Advocates, likewise, are calling the bill unconstitutional and are threatening to “take action” should the governor sign the bill. According to Cecillia Wang of the ACLU:

“This bill invites discrimination into every aspect of the lives of people in Alabama,” said Cecillia Wang, director of the immigrants’ rights project of the American Civil Liberties Union, which has brought legal challenges against several state immigration-control laws. Calling Alabama’s bill “outrageous and blatantly unconstitutional,” Ms. Wang said, “We will take action if the governor signs it.”

To date, 26 states have rejected Arizona-style immigration legislation and the states that have passed similar laws—Arizona, Utah and Georgia—are all facing costly legal challenges.

Photo by @MSG.

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  • Lady against racism of any kind

    I think Alabama has to be one of the least intelligent states in our country. I already think that Alabama has enough racial issues without bringing in any futher tention to the table. This state is already below bar on many levels and doesn’t have a very high population either. So of course this state feels it needs to decrease the population and the spending along with declined population and add even more hostily. I will most diffnitely pick up my children and move to another state just in protest against this stupid law. I was born and raised in Alabama and this has to be one of the lowest and unwise decisions it has ever made. I have three children and i do not want them to brought up to racist against any other person regardless of color ,religion or even nationality.

  • Chandra Mitchell

    This is definitely a “tough bill”, will be interesting to see how this affects the State of Alabama financially.

  • sandra melvin

    This is the most ridiculous law I’ve ever heard of. It is not only taking us years backwards, it also interferes with my rights as a citizen, telling me who I can associate with and have in my home (that I paid for). I can’t believe that we sit back and let the government control every aspect of our lives…We are all created equally, why can’t we treat each other equally. I really think God is very disappointed right now…

  • ken

    I don’t know the number immigrants in alabama. I have been to this state once and I promised myself that if was the only state in the union, I would move to my native country. this is the poorest state in the union so why will any immigrant border to live in? this is nothing more than a racist law as oppose to immigration law. the same goes to south carolina