Users Browsing this Thread
There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)
- 04-05-2012, 10:54 PM #1
Alabama Immigration Law Authors File Bill To Amend It
Posted: 04/ 5/2012 8:49 pm
WASHINGTON -- Alabama lawmakers took the first step Thursday toward amending -- but not repealing -- the state's contested immigration law.
Republican House Speaker Mike Hammon filed a bill that would make changes to H.B. 56, a partially blocked law that allows police and other government officials to inquire about citizenship status in a number of situations. The law drew a federal lawsuit and complaints from leaders in business, education and religious groups, who said it hurt their ability to hire workers or serve their communities.
The bill introduced Thursday, H.B. 658, was in response to some of those concerns, Republican Gov. Robert Bentley said in a statement.
"As we met with various groups, we discussed how portions of the law needed revision so the law was more clearly understood and more enforceable," he said. "The revisions we have outlined accomplish the task of addressing illegal immigration while providing the proper guidelines for adhering to and upholding the law."
Still, Bentley said the "essence of the law" -- the portion many Democrats and civil rights groups, as well as the federal government -- take issue with, will remain the same. The law is intended to drive undocumented immigrants from the state, and Bentley reiterated that "anyone living and working in Alabama must be here legally."
Opponents of the law say it violates civil rights, hurts business and could harm children born in the country to undocumented parents. The amendment has support from the governor and is expected to pass.
The Justice Department sued the state in August 2010 to block some portions of the law, saying it preempted the federal government's right to police immigration. A federal judge upheld most of the law in September 2010, but blocked measures that would criminalize renting to or transporting undocumented immigrants, and bar them from seeking work or enrolling in public universities. The judge also blocked a provision that would penalize drivers that stopped to hire day laborers.
Some of the Thursday's revisions to the bill, laid out in a fact sheet released by Hubbard, are designed to address those issues.
Among the changes: Police would be required to ask about immigration status if they became suspicious only during traffic citations or arrests, not at any stop. It would also eliminate a provision that said renting to an undocumented immigrant could be considered harboring and clarify business' obligations in dealing with people in the U.S. without papers.
Public schools would no longer be required to check immigration status of students, which the authors of H.B. 56 said would be used to estimate the cost of educating undocumented children. The changes to the law would shift the responsibility of determining that cost to the state Department of Education.
Republican lawmakers indicated in the past that they were willing to make some changes to clarify the law. Attorney General Luther Strange also said in December 2011, that parts of the law should be repealed. But Hammon has remained committed to the law in the past, saying it helped lower unemployment in the state.
"Despite how desperately illegal immigrant sympathizers have tried to portray this law as somehow harmful to our state's economy, the truth is more Alabamians are working today thanks in part to our decision to crackdown on illegal immigration," he said in a statement then, according to The Birmingham News. "The evidence is clear: This law is helping put more Alabamians back to work, and that's why such a strong majority of Alabamians support it."
His spokesman tweeted on Thursday that the new bill would "maintain the strength of Alabama’s illegal immigration law, while making it more workable for local governments ... more enforceable for state and local police, and less burdensome for law-abiding citizens and businesses."
Hammon's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A major opponent of the law, Democratic state Sen. Hank Sanders, said changes to the bill seemed to be mostly directed toward business interests. Only a full repeal would help to counteract the bad message the immigration law has sent, he said.
"It was a terrible bill, it's still a very bad bill," Sanders said. "It just does not do what needs to be done."
Alabama Immigration Law Authors File Bill To Amend ItWe have immigration laws that just need to be enforced.
- 04-05-2012, 10:58 PM #2
Ala's tough immigration could undergo changes
By PHILLIP RAWLS, Associated Press – 1 hour ago
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Changes could be coming to Alabama's tough immigration law that has been challenged by the courts, churches and businesses.
Its author, Republican Rep. Micky Hammon, on Thursday offered revisions that he said would make the law more workable for local governments, more enforceable for police, and less burdensome for law-abiding citizens and businesses. It also addresses sections that courts have put on hold.
The wide-ranging law requires police to determine citizenship status during traffic stops and requires government offices to verify legal residency for everyday transactions like obtaining a car license, enrolling a child in school, getting a job or renewing a business license.
Gov. Robert Bentley praised Hammon's work and said, "The essence of the bill will not change: Anyone living and working in Alabama must be here legally." It would have to be approved by the legislature.
Bentley signed the law last June. Since then, the U.S. Justice Department and 30 civil rights, religious and immigrant organizations challenged it in court. In the meantime, it caused both legal and illegal immigrants to leave the state for fear of arrest and caused farmers to complain about not having enough help to pick their crops.
Mary Bauer, legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, called Hammon's bill "a half-hearted response to the economic and humanitarian crisis that is gripping our state."
Deepak Bhargava, executive director of the Center for Community Change, said, "No amount of revising or tinkering made to this anti-immigrant bill can fix it. Repealing it is the only option."
"Some activist groups don't have a problem with illegal immigration and will only be happy if the law is repealed. That's not going to happen," said Republican House Speaker Mike Hubbard of Auburn.
Hammon's bill removes two sections put on hold by federal courts. One prohibited illegal immigrants from attending college in Alabama and another required public schools to check the legal residency of new students.
It revises a provision that allowed police to detain someone in a traffic stop if they had "reasonable suspicion" they were in the country illegal. In the future, that would only be done upon issuance of a traffic ticket or arrest.
It expands the types of identification that can be used to prove legal residency to include military IDs and Alabama driver's licenses that have been expired for less than six months.
Responding to complaints from businesses, it eliminated a provision that said renting to an illegal immigrant is the same as harboring one.
The law currently voids contracts with illegal immigrants, which raised concerns from businesses about loans and items purchased and to be paid for over time. Hammon's bill clarifies that only applies to contracts entered into after the enactment of the law.
William Canary, president of the Business Council of Alabama, said his group support's Hammon's bill.
"These changes, while not perfect, are a much-needed step in the right direction and will allow businesses to clearly comply with both federal and state immigration law," he said.
The Associated Press: Ala's tough immigration could undergo changesWe have immigration laws that just need to be enforced.
- 04-06-2012, 01:11 AM #3
- Join Date
- Jun 2008
- 04-06-2012, 07:22 AM #4http://alisondb.legislature.state.al...sorResults.asp
Hammon Immigration Law H Pending Committee Action in House of Origin Public Safety and Homeland Security 04/05/2012 Immigration law, provision barring unlawfully present alien from attending postsecondary school clarified, lawsuits for failure to entree laws, procedures revised, documentation for lawful presence, military identification authorized, voter registration provisions modified, certain lawful presence verification for certain subsequent issuance and renewals of certain licenses, procedures and penalties for employing unauthorized alien, penalties for certain lawsuits relating to employment practices, Secs. 31-13-3, 31-13-5 to 31-13-15, inclusive, 31-13-17, 31-13-18, 31-13-19, 31-13-20, 31-13-23, 31-13-26, 31-13-27, 31-13-28, 31-13-29, 32-6-9 am'd; Act 2011-535, 2011 Reg. Sess., am'd
- 04-06-2012, 01:03 PM #5We have immigration laws that just need to be enforced.