Alabama Governor Signs Costly Immigration Bill

governor bentlyAlabama Governor Signs Costly Immigration Bill, ACLU to File Suit

This week, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed a restrictive immigration bill (HB 56) into law, making Alabama the fourth state to sign “get tough” Arizona-style immigration legislation. Among the restrictive provisions, HB 56 requires local law enforcement, in some instances, to verify the immigration status of those stopped for traffic violations, public schools to determine the immigration status of students, employers to use E-Verify and makes it a crime to knowingly rent to, transport or harbor undocumented immigrants.  Although Gov. Bentley touts the law as the nation’s toughest, he might also consider mounting a similarly tough legal defense as civil rights groups have declared their intention to file suit.

Shortly after Gov. Bentley signed the law, the ACLU issued a statement declaring their intention, along with several other civil rights groups, to challenge the law’s constitutionality. They called key provisions of the law—especially the provision requiring children to provide proof of citizenship at public schools—“an outrageous throw-back to the pre-Civil Rights era, going beyond the discriminatory and unconstitutional police practices that we’ve seen in other states. It blocks the schoolhouse doors to children, will result in people being turned away when they try to rent a home, and places burdens on people of color at the voting booth.” The law is slated to take effect September 1, 2011.

But even putting aside questions of constitutionality, this attrition through enforcement law is designed to drive undocumented population (estimated at around 120,000) out of Alabama—a population that, like it or not, contributes significantly to Alabama’s economy. According to one report, households headed by unauthorized immigrants in Alabama paid $130.3 million in state and local taxes in 2010. And if all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Alabama, another report estimates, the state would lose $2.6 billion in economic activity, $1.1 billion in gross state product, and approximately 17,819 jobs.  And that’s not even counting what the state would spend in legal fees defending the law.

Other states with similar “get tough” immigration legislation on the books—Arizona, Utah, Georgia and Indiana—are all facing costly legal battles. Arizona has already spent $1.9 million defending their law, key provisions of which were blocked by a federal judge. Not to mention the millions Arizona has already lost in cancelled conferences.

seth hoyClearly, Arizona has shown us that using a “get tough” immigration law to drive undocumented immigrants out of the state is not only costly, discriminatory and unconstitutional; it’s also ineffectual in actually addressing larger immigration problems. Instead of demanding documentation from children, Alabamans concerned with fixing our broken immigration system should be putting pressure on their Congressional members to support national reform legislation—legislation that would get undocumented immigrants right with the law and on the books.

Seth Hoy
Immigration Impact

Photo by Robert Bentley.

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Comments

  1. Jackson Black says

    … support national reform legislation—legislation that would get undocumented immigrants right with the law and on the books.

    You mean give illegal aliens AMNESTY for the third time. Why? Because it’s expensive to stop them from stealing our resources? Why pay for our immigration service at all, why not just open our borders and accept everyone who wants to live here, and instantly start paying for dual language road signs and government and other communications. After all, it’s the Spanish speaking population that Seth is concerned about, not any other immigrants.

    This is the agenda of people like Seth Hoy who are determined to force America to accept Hispanic people out-voting the native English speakers within the next thirty years or so. The agenda is 1) Trick progressives and liberals into supporting illegal immigration by calling anyone who tries to block illegal activity a racist bigot. 2) Make it expensive to protect our borders by suing states that try to stop illegal aliens from entering and/or stealing our resources. 3) Promote anti-white hatred by falsely linking immigration problems with the challenges African Americans faced. 4) Promoting one particular segment of immigrants over others: specifically the Hispanic immigrants from Mexico over people of all other races and from any other country.

    The difference between Seth Hoy and many other working Americans is that Seth won’t lose his job to an illegal alien. In fact, he’ll probably get paid even more if he encourages other Americans to give up and accept his plan to force America to become a dual language country with little or no limits on the number of immigrants who can come here.

    The question is, how many liberals are going to be tricked into paying for the millions of illegal aliens Seth wants to force down our throat?

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