Category: Immigration

New Immigration Law Already Showing Results

John Loudon has a piece up at Breitbart’s Big Government on the effect of Alabama’s new immigration law.

Some highlights:

Mrs. Ferguson reports that the local passport office that processed 139 passports in June of 2010, processed a stunning 469 in 2011; an increase of almost 300%.  Knowing the laws are tightening, illegal residents are taking steps to assure the successful return of their “anchor” children as they slip back across the border.

The other stunning statistic is that Marshall County, home to many chicken processing plants, has experienced a decrease in unemployment while neighboring counties see increases.  Marshall County unemployment dropped almost a percentage point from 10% to 9.1% and neighboring DeKalb increased to 13%. Mrs. Ferguson explains, “The chicken plants are starting to hire local people”.

U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn has granted a temporary injunction for 30 days while she continues the review the law, which is being challenged by the U.S. Justice Department, ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center among others.

Executive Director Brooklyn Roberts Quoted On New Alabama Immigration Law

Executive Director Brooklyn Roberts was interviewed by Jay Reeves of the Associated Press on Alabama’s new immigration law.  A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, August 24 where U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn will hear arguments from groups who want the new law blocked.  Governor Bentley and several legislators filed legal briefs last week defending the law saying the federal government is illegally treading on state sovereignty.

7 Myths About HB56

Myth: School officials will be required to determine the immigration status of every student at enrollment and will be able to refuse students without proper documentation and report the parents to the authorities.

Although schools will require a certificate of live birth for all students at enrollment, regardless of the student’s status neither they nor their parents will be punished. In a briefing for the State Board of Education, Tommy Bice, Deputy State School Superintendent for Instructional Services stated, “Those who enroll after Sept. 1 and are unable to provide documentation through a birth certificate that they are U.S. citizens will still be accepted, although they’ll have to go through a multi-­step process with the school system.” By obtaining the status of all students, lawmakers in Montgomery will have a better idea of the number of illegal immigrants and how to forecast and plan for the impact their presence may have on public education in the state.

Myth: Officers will be allowed to stop and request proof of citizenship of anyone based upon suspicion.

A law enforcement official may only request proof of citizenship if the individual in question has already committed an offense. In Section 12(a) HB56 states:

“Upon any lawful stop, detention, or arrest made by a state, county, or municipal law enforcement officer of this state in the enforcement of any state law or ordinance of any political subdivision thereof, where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the citizenship and immigration status of the person, except if the determination may hinder or obstruct an investigation.”

Myth: Illegal immigrants pay taxes through rent, sales taxes, and have taxes withheld from their paychecks, therefore they don’t cost us any extra compared to citizens at the same income level.

Tax collections from illegal immigrants do little to offset the balance of fiscal costs. The Federation for American Immigration Reform estimates that in 2010, tax collections for illegal immigrants in Alabama reached $18.2 million compared to the $298 million in costs. According to Wall Street investment firm Bear Sterns, there are at least 5 million illegal workers who are collecting wages on a cash basis and are avoiding both income and FICA taxes.

Myth: Illegal immigrants are the only ones willing to perform menial labor.

With unemployment sky-­rocketing to almost 10% in Alabama it is crucial that we protect jobs for citizens of the state. A study by the Center for Immigration Studies indicates that “Mexican immigration is overwhelmingly unskilled and it’s hard to find an economic argument for unskilled immigration because it tends to reduce wages for U.S. workers. Cheap labor from illegal immigration is not “cheap.” It’s subsidized by all of us in the form of our tax dollars paying for their services. It makes a few employers wealthy at the expense of all of us.”

Myth: HB 56 is an unfunded mandate that will cost the state more to enforce.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform estimates the cost of illegal immigrants to the state to be at least $298 million. While it is true that enforcement of the law will cost the state and local law enforcement, in the long run it is expected to save the state money.

Myth: HB 56 makes it illegal to give aid to an illegal immigrant in an emergency.

HB 56 specifically exempts 9irst responders and protection service providers [Section 13(e)]. It also states that a person must “know or recklessly disregard” the fact that a person is in the country illegally for a violation to occur. Good samaritans are not prohibited under this law (Section 13).

Myth: HB 56 prevents Alabama churches from ministering to the illegal immigrant population.

HB 56 does not prevent churches from ministering to anyone. Churches are well protected from state regulations by the Alabama Religious Freedom Amendment which states in part:

“SECTION III. The purpose of the Alabama Religious Freedom Amendment is to guarantee that the freedom of religion is not burdened by state and local law; and to provide a claim or defense to persons whose religious freedom is burdened by government.”-­-­Alabama Constitution

For more information, AFRW White Paper on Immigration

How Much Is Illegals’ Education Costing You?

Elisabeth Meinecke has a good column up at Townhall.com regarding the cost of educating illegal immigrants.

Can the U.S. economy afford to spend up to one of every four of its school dollars on K-12 education for illegals?

And are higher costs for educating a burgeoning, illegal immigrant population, balanced against cash-strapped, public education budgets, diminishing U.S. educational quality?

Statistics for California, the state with the largest population of illegal immigrants, indicate the answers are yes. According to the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, in the course of one generation, California dropped from No. 1 in its percentage of residents with high school diplomas to No. 49 among the 50 states. The National Academy of Sciences says each immigrant who lacks a high school diploma will cost U.S. taxpayers $89,000 in services and entitlements over a lifetime. …

When President Barack Obama urged immigration reform in his 2011 State of the Union Address, he referred to “hundreds of thousands of students excelling in our schools who are not citizens.” Obama and other supporters of education access for illegal immigrants argue the United States was built by immigrants and can’t afford to waste the talents of new immigrant generations.

But are today’s immigrants akin to the masses that flooded here in the 19th and 20th centuries? A Heritage Foundation report says no.

Prior to 1960, Heritage found immigrants to the United States had education levels on par with America’s non-immigrant work force and brought with them skills that allowed them to earn more than their nonimmigrant counterparts.

It’s worth noting that Alabama’s new immigration law requires schools to ask about citizenship at enrollment.  Under Federal law the state cannot refuse to enroll illegal immigrants, but there’s not a federal law against asking about immigration status.  Our new law requires schools to report to the State Department of Education the number of illegal immigrants enrolled in our schools.

EF of AL President Eunie Smith In Birmingham News Talking About New Immigration Bill

Eagle Forum of Alabama President Eunie Smith is quoted in the Birmingham News discussing how the new immigration law will help reduce the jobless rate in Alabama.

Eunie Smith, executive director of the Eagle Forum of Alabama, a conservative group based in Birmingham, countered that with Alabama’s jobless rate above historic levels at 9 percent, there will be lots of state residents who are unemployed or under-employed eager to claim those jobs.

“The bottom line is that if you are here illegally, you are paid less wages than those abiding by the law and often mistreated, so this law is good for everyone,” Smith said.

To read the full article, click here.

Alabama Legislature Passes Immigration Overhaul In the Wake Of U.S. Supreme Court Decision On Arizona Immigration Law

The U.S Supreme Court recently upheld an Arizona law which penalizes employers who hire illegal immigrants by a vote of 5-3.  Under the Arizona Law, employers are required to use the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s e-Verify system to verify the work authorization status of an employee.  Employers that intentionally violate the law by knowingly hiring an illegal immigrant can lose their business license.

This ruling gives a boost to the comprehensive immigration reform legislation passed by the Alabama legislature last week.  Alabama’s answer to immigration reform, also known as HB56, is now one of the strongest in the country.  It aims to restore, among other things, depressed wages and lost jobs. With the backing from the Supreme Court in the Arizona case, supporters for immigration reform in Alabama are optimistic HB56 will survive a legal challenge.

Top Immigration Lawyer Lauds Alabama’s Passage of Immigration Reform Legislation

Regarding tonight’s passage of immigration reform legislation, Eagle Forum of Alabama spoke with Kris Kobach, one of the nation’s top immigration lawyers and current Kansas Secretary of State, who congratulated the Alabama Legislature on today’s passage of HB56 which he considers to be one of the toughest immigration laws in the country.

“With the enactment of this bill, Alabama now has the strongest law deterring illegal immigration in the country, surpassing even Arizona.  I have worked closely with Senate and House leadership to ensure that the Alabama law is drafted carefully.  It will pass judicial muster if the ACLU and the open borders crowd decide to take Alabama to court,” said Kobach.

Among other things, HB56 will require a person to present proof of citizenship or residency before voting and prohibit an alien not lawfully present in the U.S. from receiving any state or local public benefits.  It will also require employers to verify the legal status of their employees using the Department of Homeland Security’s e-Verify program.  Eagle Forum of Alabama has been advocating immigration reform for many years now because of the detrimental effect it has had on our state.

Spotlight On Immigration Reform: A Look At HB56

The Alabama Legislature recently passed HB56 which will reform the state’s immigration laws. Eagle Forum of Alabama has supported immigration reform for many years because of the detrimental impact illegal immigration has had on our state. The Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform (FAIR) documents the annual net cost to the state at $270 million. One legislator estimates this cost could be as high as $600 million when depressed wages, lost jobs, dollars sent out of the U.S., drug addiction, etc. are added. We cannot afford to ignore the problem any longer.

Senator Scott Beason and Representative Micky Hammon have introduced legislation aimed at addressing the problem of illegal immigration for the last several years. With the new Republican majority in the Alabama Legislature, they were finally able to get it passed. The House and Senate passed slightly different versions of HB56 so the legislation will go to conference committee when the legislature returns next week.

The latest version of HB56 will:

  • Require the Attorney General to try to negotiate a Memo of Understanding between the state and the U.S. Department of Justice or U.S. Department of Homeland Security concerning enforcement of federal immigrations and customs laws, detention and removals, and investigations in the state as provided for in 8 U.S.C. Section1357(g).
  • Require a person to present proof of citizenship or residency before voting
  • Preclude any state or local government or public official from refusing to enforce federal or state immigration laws and allow the state to withhold funds, grants or appropriations until the violation has ceased.
  • Prohibit an alien not lawfully present in the U.S. from receiving any state or local public benefits
  • Prohibit a person not lawfully present from being eligible on the basis of residence for education benefits
  • Require business entities or employers seeking economic incentives from the state to verify the employment eligibility of their employees and provide penalties for those who fail to do so
  • Prohibit an unauthorized alien from seeking employment in this state
  • Criminalize certain behaviors relating to concealing, harboring, shielding etc. of illegal aliens
  • Create the crime of dealing in false identification documents and the crime of vital records identity fraud
  • Prevent an employer from knowingly employing an unauthorized alien
  • Make it a discriminatory practice for a business entity to fail to hire a legally present job applicant or discharge an employee while retaining an employee who is an unauthorized alien
  • Require the verification of legal status of every person charged with a crime for which bail is required
  • Require law enforcement to detain any person whose citizenship status cannot be verified under certain conditions
  • Require notification of the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Alabama Department of Homeland Security when an unlawfully present alien is convicted of violating state law (Exception: victims and critical witnesses of crime)
  • Authorize the Alabama Department of Homeland Security to hire state police officers and grant those officers enforcement powers
  • Provide penalties for solicitation, attempt or conspiracy to violate this act

As you can see from the summary above, HB56 is a tough, comprehensive solution to our state’s problem with illegal immigration. You can find out how your legislators voted by looking them up on our Find Your Legislator page. If your legislators supported HB56, we’d like to encourage you to call and thank them for their support of the bill, and ask them to do what they can to ensure the bill comes out of conference committee just as strong as possible.

Urge Your Senator To Vote YES On SB256

The Alabama Senate will vote on SB256 today.  Sponsored by Senator Scott Beason, SB256 will reform our state’s immigration laws.

SB256 will:

  • Make it illegal to hire illegal immigrants.  Business owners who use e-Verify to check the status of their employees are given a safe harbor, but the use of e-Verify is not mandatory.  All state contracts will have a clause against hiring illegal immigrants and if contractors are found in violation of that clause on a first offense, the contract will automatically terminate and the contractor may be barred from contracting with the state for a period of one year.  The contractor is also liable for 10% of the total amount of the contract in damages.  On a second offense, the contractor may be permanently barred from doing business with the state and be liable for 25% of the total contract price in damages.
  • Prevent any illegal immigrant from getting public benefits.
  • Make it a crime to be in the state illegally.  Persons found in violation of this law will be subject to a $500 fine and one of the following:  Term of imprisonment not less than one year and one day and not more than three years; or repatriation to the person’s country of citizenship.
  • Allow law enforcement officers to verify the citizenship of any person in the course of a lawful stop, detention or arrest where reasonable suspicion the person is in the state illegally exists.

Eagle Forum urges a YES vote on Final Passage of SB256.
The net ANNUAL cost to Alabamians according to one legislator could be at least $600 million when depressed wages, lost jobs, dollars sent out of the U.S., drug addiction, etc. are added to the $270 m. net annual cost to AL documented at www.fairus.org.  We cannot afford NOT to stop it by attrition through cutting off jobs and benefits.

Go to http://alabamaeagle.org/find-your-legislator to find your state legislator and email or call as indicated.

OR you may leave a message at the House switchboard in Montgomery: (334)242-7600.

Coming Up This Week In The Alabama Legislature

On the Senate side…

In Committee:

SB196–Sen. Paul Bussman’s Shared Parenting bill:  Changes the custodial presumption in child custody cases from 80%/20% to 50%/50%

HB58–Rep. Mike Ball’s Ethics Disclosure Requirements:  Requires public officials/candidates and spouses of public officials/candidates to disclose if they are employed by the state or federal government or have a contract with the state or federal government.

HB64–Rep. Kurt Wallace’s Secret Ballot Protection Act:  Constitutional amendment protecting the right to a secret ballot in employee representation.

SB46–Sen. Cam Ward’s Health Care Rights of Conscience Act:  This legislation will provide a conscience exception for health care providers and pharmacists who believe in the sanctity of life and choose not to perform procedures or provide medication that do not comply with that belief.

SB310–Sen. Trip Pittman’s Teacher Tenure Law and Fair Dismissal Act:  Reforms the state’s tenure system for teachers in order to improve the quality of education in Alabama.

On the floor:

SB301–Rep. Phil Williams’ pro-life legislation:  Redefines person to include all humans from the moment of fertilization.

SB172–Sen. Del Marsh’s legislation to prohibit the use of gas chambers when euthanizing cats or dogs.

SB112–Sen. Arthur Orr’s legislation to remove racist language from the Alabama Constitution of 1901.

SB256–Sen. Scott Beason’s Immigration Reform Legislation–reforming the state immigration laws to provide for enforcement of federal immigration laws.

On the House side…

In Committee:

HB98–Rep. Kerry Rich and Rep. Wayne Johnson’s legislation to impose term limits on legislators in Alabama:  Limits to three consecutive full terms in the House and/or Senate.

HB206–Rep. Jack Williams’ legislation to increase the distance campaign materials and candidates can be to a polling location to 300 ft.

HB427–Rep. Paul DeMarco’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights:  This legislation will, among other things, amend the Alabama Taxpayer Bill of Rights to conform to the federal Taxpayer Bill of Rights including certain aspects like an “innocent spouse” defense.  It will also increase the time period in which a taxpayer has to file an appeal of a preliminary or final assessment.

HB193–Rep. Mike Jones’ legislation to prohibit lawsuits against restaurants for obesity or weight gain.

On the floor:

HB123–Rep. Jay Love: Education Budget for fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2012