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Alabama and anti-immigration legislation

October 12, 2011

Like several other states, including Michigan, there is an effort in Alabama to pass legislation that would criminalize and target undocumented immigrants and their children.

The following information on the anti-immigration legislation in Alabama is from an action alert from the group Presente.

“The most draconian anti-immigration law in the country is going into effect in Alabama right now, and what is happening as a result will horrify you.

There are reports circulating on blogs that people must show a valid Alabama ID to get water service to their homes, that many are too scared to leave their homes to buy groceries for fear of being targeted, and of neighbors turning on each other and calling the authorities to check the immigration status of people living next door. The law is also compounding the economic crisis in Alabama, which has a deep farming economy. Migrant workers are afraid to go to work—so there are millions of dollars of produce that is rotting in the fields as a result.

And since this law targets immigrant children and parents explicitly, the day after its implementation 2,000 children or 5% of Latino children in the Alabama school system did not go to school.3

Right now the media is not covering this unfolding humanitarian crisis so it’s hard to give a full sense of the outrage that is happening in Alabama. That’s why we sent members of our team down there to help document the abuses so that we can raise the alarm about what’s happening all over the country.

In the meantime, it is vital that we all speak out against what’s happening there—keeping kids out of school and forcing whole communities to live in fear is simply inhumane. Will you sign on to condemn Alabama and pledge to stop this sort of hate from spreading to your state?

Click here to condemn Alabama for crossing the line and pledge to stand against laws anti-immigrant laws.

There is currently a legal battle being waged over the Alabama law. The Department of Justice along with religious groups and human rights groups in Alabama have tried to prevent it from going into effect. Unfortunately, a U.S. district court judge refused to block some of the worst provisions, like the requirement that public schools check the immigration status of children. There is an appeal underway that will hopefully block these horrible provisions but in the meantime we need to stand up and make our voices heard.”


One Comment leave one →
  1. kswheeler permalink
    October 13, 2011 12:21 am

    Jeff, I thought it might be useful to recap the unconstitutional and inhumane sections of the new law:

    1. It not only encourages, but mandates, racial profiling. Any child with a Latino/a name can be dismissed from school on the suspicion that he/she is “illegal.”

    It also permits a type of segregation in that schools can keep Latino/a students apart from children of other races, force them to attend assemblies based on their race that other children are not required to attend, etc. These things have already happened in schools in Alabama.

    Police have a duty to pull over anyone who “seems suspicious,” which means anyone who looks Latino/a, whether they have documentation or not. People can be arrested and held WITHOUT BOND if they don’t happen to have their documentation with them, and Child Social Services are not allowed to care for any children who are abandoned during the arrest, because all state services are withheld until citizenship is proven.

    It also criminalizes the failure to have ID proving one’s immigration status, which is in direct opposition to federal law.

    2. Church leaders have said that the law prevents them from performing crucial dutie of their ministry, and physicians have protested the law on the same grounds–it prevents them from attending to people in accidents or the ER who do not have documentation with them. The judge ruled that both groups had no standing in the case.

    3. The law declares null and void any contract that an undocumented worker makes, which is a violation of contract law, which is silent on the matter of citizenship in terms of the protection of contracts.

    4. It denies immigrants access to city services, even life-sustaining services such as water and sewer hookup, heat, fire response, as well as all state services.

    It has NOT created jobs that White Alabamians are willing to fill. Quote from a recent news story on NBC:
    “Alabama’s farmers say while this new state law is doing as it was designed, undocumented immigrants are indeed leaving, it’s left the agriculture industry as the victims of unintended consequences. With 30 acres of tomatoes still to be picked, farmer Brian Alexander says most of the workers are now gone….In the first week of this law, farmers, poultry processors, contractors say while they’ve all lost workers, they’re yet to see a rush to fill those jobs, despite Alabama’s 9.9 percent unemployment rate.”

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