In the last few years, States such as Arizona, Utah, Georgia, and Indiana have all passed illegal immigration laws. The latest state to pass an immigration bill is Alabama. HB 56 is 72 pages long, and was passed in June, 2011. The new law took effect on September 1, 2011. This paper focuses on three of the most talked about provisions in the Alabama illegal immigration law, although the many lawsuits filed consist of other provisions that are included in the law. Labeled as the toughest immigration law thus far, this law would affect illegal immigrates who are stopped for traffic violations, the education system, and employment. The controversy surrounding this law has those who are for, and those who are against Alabama’s immigration law speaking out. There have been several filings of complaints, briefs, and law suits from civil rights groups, religious groups, sixteen nations, and the Obama administration. The blockings and challenges from local judges and the Justice Department continue to play out as the people of Alabama wait the final decision. Governor Robert Bentley, who signed bill HB 56 into law on June 9, 2011 expressed confident it would withstand any legal challenges. “We have a real problem with illegal immigration in this country,” he said. “I campaigned for the toughest immigration laws, and I’m proud of Legislature for working tirelessly to create the strongest immigration bill in the country.” (Johnson, Bob. Lewiston Morning Tribune, Idaho, 10, June, 2011. 1) The bill approved was by an overwhelming 73-28 vote. Representative Micky Hammon, says the bill “attacks every aspect of an illegal alien’s life. (Tragone, Adam. “Alabama Lawmakers OK Arizona-style Immigration Law.” Human Events 67.15 (2011):6. This is because other provisions have been written into Alabama’s new law such as, housing, and consequences for those who assist in helping undocumented immigrates. This law affects an estimated 130,000 illegal immigrates that live in the state of Alabama, and instructs Law Enforcement to check the immigration status of anyone they stop if they suspect the person of being an undocumented immigrate. Most people believe that this law is nothing more than racial profiling, used by Law Enforcement and is a way for them to decide based on a person’s race whether to stop them for potential crimes. Birmingham’s city council voted unanimously on a resolution that calls the new law cruel and immoral. Council members agreed, like most critics of the Arizona- style immigration law, that it leads to and even sanctions racial profiling. (US Immigration, Alabama Immigration Law Condemned by Birmingham’s City Council, 2011. 1) Since the Alabama Immigration Law has been in effect, almost 2,000 students have not been to school. Section 28 (a) (1) of the immigration law states that every public elementary and secondary school in this state, at the time of enrollment in kindergarten or any grade in such school, shall determine whether the student enrolling in public school was born outside the jurisdiction of the United States or is the child of an alien not lawfully present in the United States and qualifies for assignment to an Second Language class or other remedial program. Schools are also required by the new immigration law to collect citizenship information on undocumented children. Confirmation must be established by a birth certificate or of documents stating the citizenship or immigration status of the child. Senator Scott Benson, a
Republican and a sponsor of the bill, said this section is designed to gather information on the number of undocumented children in public schools, and the price of educating them. It also bars illegal immigrants from enrolling in any public college after high school.