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    Senior Member HAPPY2BME's Avatar
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    States' anti-immigration laws and Alabama’s HB 56

    States' anti-immigration laws and Alabama’s HB 56
    January 3, 2012
    By: Franklin Garcia

    The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution grants people born in the U.S. citizenship. The interpretation of the text of the 14th Amendment has been the source of much debate in recent months.

    The debate over the Constitutional Amendment content has been driven by some of the anti illegal immigration laws passed in some states. These laws are in response to the failure of the federal government to implement a national immigration policy that is current with the times. The last successful immigration reform took place under President Ronald Reagan with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.

    It is estimated that between 11 to 13 million people reside in the U.S. illegally. Citing Congress’ failure to enforce current U.S. immigration laws, some states have started to enact their own immigration laws, targeting illegal residents in the state. One such law is Arizona’s SB 1070, signed into law on April 23, 2010, and scheduled to go into effect on July 29, 2010, but blocked by a federal judge a day before it was to go into effect.

    Five other states, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Indiana and Utah, have enacted similar anti-immigration legislation. The U.S. Department of Justice has challenged in court these immigration state laws. The toughest of these laws is HB 56 from the state of Alabama. Alabama’s HB 56 prevailed where four other states, including Arizona’s SB 1070, failed to get a U.S. District judge to let much of the state law stand.

    While some controversial parts of Alabama’s HB 56 are not being enforced, like the mandate that parents report the immigration status of their children to public schools, much of the law is being enforced. With the enforcement of HB 56, local police officers in Alabama have the right to detain anyone they suspect may be an undocumented immigrant. The implementation of HB 56 is having a ripple effect throughout the state of Alabama, with only 200,000 Latinos left in the state, according to Voto Latino’s November 2011 numbers.

    Many believe that a main objective of HB 56 was to help overturn Plyler vs. Doe, the 1982 Supreme Court ruling that prohibits public schools from denying immigrant students access to public education. In the 1982 Supreme Court ruling, public schools and school personnel are prohibited from adopting policies or taking action that would deny students access to education based on their immigration status.

    Up to now, the U.S. Department of Justice has been successful at blocking most of the controversial parts of these state laws, but the U.S. Supreme Court will hear an appeal by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on the states’ ability to enforce SB 1070, setting the stage for a potential landmark ruling on whether states have the right to set immigration policy.

    The case Arizona v. U.S. (11-182) will be heard this Spring, and whatever the outcome of the Supreme Court appeal is, is sure to have a major impact on the implementation of any state laws dealing with immigration.

    States' anti-immigration laws and Alabama
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