Alabama Governor Bentley today signed into law what may be the harshest state-level, anti-immigrant measure to date. Inspired by Arizona’s notorious racial profiling law, SB 1070, the new Alabama law imposes a draconian immigration enforcement scheme that will subject immigrants and people of color to scrutiny in every aspect of their lives, including when renting homes, taking their children to school, and even entering into contracts. The law would hinder schools from fulfilling the vital task of educating our youth and require them instead to verify the immigration status of children in attendance, as well as their parents, and report the information to state authorities. The law also criminalizes basic, daily interactions between U.S. citizens and other lawfully present individuals and undocumented immigrants. Below is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center:
“Today, Alabama effectively turned state workers, peace officers, and school teachers into de facto immigration agents. Immigrants and people of color will be subjected to additional, unconstitutional scrutiny when they take their children to school or interact with local law enforcement officers. Friends and family members of undocumented immigrants will face criminal charges simply for driving them to church or to the grocery store.
“By passing HB 56, Alabama’s legislators have deemed an entire class of people not worthy of the most fundamental rights, which were carefully prescribed to all people by our Founding Fathers. This law effectively makes immigrants the latest group of people to suffer a legalization of discriminatory behavior against them, and threatens to turn back the clock on our hard-won civil rights.
“Americans — regardless of the way they look or sound, or where they were born — deserve nothing less than to see this egregious affront to our basic liberties taken to court. We will join our colleagues from other civil rights organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center, to ensure that Alabama joins Arizona, Utah, Indiana, and Georgia in a legal battle over this unconstitutional law that flies in the face of American values and undermines our basic concept of freedom.
“We are confident that the federal court will strike down Alabama’s law as unconstitutional. We will continue to support the efforts of Alabamans and people across the country who are continuing the state’s rich organizing tradition to challenge this unjust law.”
For NILC’s latest map showing the status of Arizona-inspired legislation across the country, visit: <www.nilc.org/immlawpolicy/LocalLaw/Threat-Levels-Map.pdf>.
For more information, visit <www.nilc.org>.
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