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  1. #1
    Senior Member Ratbstard's Avatar
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    Alabama joins Arizona at forefront of national debate on ill

    Alabama joins Arizona at forefront of national debate on illegal immigration
    Published: Sunday, August 14, 2011, 10:43 AM Updated: Sunday, August 14, 2011, 10:57 AM
    By Brian Lawson, The Huntsville Times

    HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- The sponsor of Alabama's new immigration law, Decatur Rep. Micky Hammon, said he is getting thanked "everywhere I go" for standing up for the people.

    Alabama's law is now the most far-reaching of its kind in the country. And that has drawn attention from across the nation, prompting lawsuits from the U.S. Department of Justice, advocacy groups and leaders in Alabama's Roman Catholic, Episcopal and United Methodist churches.

    Following Arizona's lead, several states introduced similar laws to crack down on illegal immigration. But Alabama's 72-page act, criminalizing many aspects of daily life for illegal immigrants and those who deal with them, appears to have catapulted the state into equal footing with Arizona, as the federal government has challenged only those two states.

    Meanwhile, in Alabama, more than 50 friend of the court briefs have been filed in opposition to the law. That includes filings from groups ranging from the National Education Association to the Anti-Defamation League to the National Fair Housing Alliance. Even Mexico and 15 other Central and South American countries have filed official opposition to Alabama's law.

    A court hearing is set for Aug. 24, and opponents of the measure will argue to block the law, most portions of which take effect on Sept. 1. Regardless of the outcome, Hammon said the law is already working, as illegal immigrants are beginning to "self-deport" and leave Alabama.

    And despite the legal challenges, Hammon said support for the measure also has been widespread and enthusiastic, as backers from all over the country have turned to Alabama. He expects it will be a favorable issue for Republicans in next year's national elections.

    "I get it from all over the country," he said. "I've had numerous people say they wish they could have that in their state. Quite a few people are saying now they are thinking about moving to Alabama."

    The state's new role as hero or villain in the national debate reflects the times, said Kevin Martin, dean of the University of California-Davis School of Law and an immigration law expert.

    "Immigration from Mexico no longer is limited to the East and West Coasts but is today affecting states that had not previously seen much immigration," Martin said. "This helps explain why Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia and Oklahoma have passed immigration laws.

    "It also explains why some cities, like rural Hazleton, Pennsylvania, have passed immigration laws. Moreover, the ailing economy in Alabama and much of the United States has people looking for answers and scapegoats. Immigrants in tough economic times historically have been blamed for things like taking American jobs, overusing public benefits, etc."

    Arizona passed its immigration law in 2010 and immediately drew national attention. The federal courts have blocked most of the law, including provisions that match Alabama's permitting local police to check a person's immigration status in the course of other police business.

    Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer last week petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to consider her state's case and lift the injunction against the law. If the court agrees to hear it, experts said, it would likely take it up this winter and issue a decision in the spring. The high court already upheld a portion of the Arizona law that required employers to use the federal E-Verify system to determine if workers had the legal right to work in the U.S.

    Bob Dane, a spokesman for FAIR, a nonprofit group that advocates for enforcement and tightening of immigration laws, said the group helped draft the Arizona law with the expectation it would be challenged.

    "The Supreme Court decides the constitutionality of our laws," he said. "Should the Arizona and Alabama laws go there, we'd have a high level of confidence they could find those laws, in fact constitutional."

    A Supreme Court decision on Arizona's law could affect certain parts of Alabama's law, but the new act here goes further. Alabama seeks to criminalize most knowing contact with illegal immigrants, including transporting, housing, contracting with, employing, renting to or encouraging someone to stay or come to Alabama. Such issues are also likely to wind up before the Supreme Court.

    In fact, Hammon expects it will happen.

    "Arizona will be first, but I'm sure ours will ultimately be there, as well," Hammon said.

    But that's down the road. For now, opponents want it put on hold.

    Groups like the National Council of La Raza, the largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy group in the country, want to see the courts stop the Alabama law before it takes effect.

    Elena Lacayo, the group's immigration field coordinator, said Alabama's law goes "way beyond" the other Arizona copycat bills passed in Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah.

    "This bill is sending the message that Latinos are not welcome in Alabama, and that is a big deal," Lacayo said. "It is important the courts stand up to this."

    Lacayo cited concerns that Latinos, regardless of their immigration status, will be subject to additional police scrutiny, suspicion and profiling.

    A spokeswoman for Gov. Robert Bentley said Friday he was proud to sign the bill into law, and "will continue to fight at every turn to make sure Alabama has a strong illegal immigration law."

    But Lacayo said other legislatures have looked at the issue and made a different decision. "After Arizona, the predictions were 30 states were going to pass something similar, that it was a big wave and everybody was going to be on board," she said. "But the vast majority of states considered it and rejected it."

    Lacayo said budget woes led many states to decide not to pass anything that was "not essential," but politicians are also noting the country's changing demographics.

    "A lot of states are realizing that as the Latino population grows, they can't afford to alienate that voting bloc," she said. "We saw that in Florida and Texas, where immigration is a great concern. Both of those states have Republican supermajorities; they can pass anything they want, but in Texas they rejected the legislation twice."

    U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, said he is proud Alabama has taken the lead on an issue that is "hurting so many Americans". Brooks said the effect on Alabama's reputation depends on point of view.

    "Depending on whether you support illegal conduct or support amnesty for all illegal aliens, if that's your belief system then yes, Alabama has a black eye," Brooks said.

    "If you believe in law and order and understand the threat posed to America by illegal aliens, then Alabama is seen as a white knight helping to lead the charge for truth and justice."


    Gov. Robert Bentley's office said Friday the governor will fight to ensure Alabama has a strong immigration law. The state is facing several federal lawsuits trying to block an immigration bill Bentley signed into law in June. (The Birmingham News / Michelle Campbell)

    http://blog.al.com/breaking/2011/08/ala ... foref.html
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  2. #2
    Senior Member stevetheroofer's Avatar
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    Re: Alabama joins Arizona at forefront of national debate on

    Immigrants in tough economic times historically have been blamed for things like taking American jobs, overusing public benefits, etc."
    They do this all the time, not just during "tough times"
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    Senior Member uniteasone's Avatar
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    Re: Alabama joins Arizona at forefront of national debate on

    Quote Originally Posted by stevetheroofer
    Immigrants in tough economic times historically have been blamed for things like taking American jobs, overusing public benefits, etc."
    They do this all the time, not just during "tough times"
    Our government officials took us down this road over the years and continue to do so as seen in the lawsuits against states that are standing up for themselves.
    "When you have knowledge,you have a responsibility to do better"_ Paula Johnson

    "I did then what I knew to do. When I knew better,I did better"_ Maya Angelou

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