Alabama House approves revisions to immigration law
MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- The House of Representatives this afternoon voted 64-34 in a largely partisan vote to approve a rewrite of the state's controversial immigration law.
The bill keeps the core of the 2011 immigration law, but makes changes lawmakers said will make the law easier to enforce and less burdensome for legal citizens and businesses. Republicans largely voted for the bill and Democrats against it.
"We want to discourage illegal immigrants from coming to Alabama and prevent those that are here from putting down roots," sponsor Rep. Micky Hammon, R-Decatur, said during debate.
April 19, 2012
The Birmingham News
Legislators who want the law to be repealed entirely mounted a filibuster but were ultimately unable to stop a vote. Republicans voted to cut off debate after a little more than five hours. "It is wrong. It is immoral," Rep. Mary Moore, D-Birmingham, said of the immigration bill.
Rep. Pebblin Warren, D-Tuskegee, said immigration is a federal problem and that the 2011 law is causing heartbreaking choices for illegal immigrants with American-born children. Other lawmakers said the bill was an "open invitation" for racial profiling.
"It's still a bad bill. You can't dress up something that wasn't good from the beginning," Rep. A.J. McCampbell, D-Linden, said.
But Rep. Jim Patterson, R-Meridianville, a proponent of the bill, said illegal immigrants are taking jobs from roofers, brick masons and others because they are willing to work for less money.
"I'm not against Hispanic people. They are good people, hard working people but they are taking jobs," Patterson said.
"There are people out of work today because their jobs have been taken by people who work for less money," Patterson said.
Changes to the bill include clarifying that police officers cannot question people about their citizenship during roadblocks and traffic stops, adding language to try to safeguard church ministry activities and clarifying that people don't need to show proof of citizenship for mundane transactions such as tag renewals and getting their water connected.
The bill now moves to the Alabama Senate.