July 15th There will be a Bus leaving Alabama for Washington DC for this Anti-Amnesty Rally.
Will you be there?
Senator Scott Beason, a co-sponsor of HB56, has introduced a bill (SB541) to tweak that legislation and make it easier to enforce and easier to defend in court. Sen. Beason’s bill was approved by a Senate Committee today and heads to the floor for a full vote. HB56’s original sponsor, Rep. Micky Hammon, has also introduced a bill (HB658)to address some issues with the immigration law, but many feel that it changes too much, thus endangering HB56 with the courts, and substantially weakens the original legislation. SB541, however, does exactly what GOP leaders promised they would do–it tweaks the law to make it more effective and more enforceable without making it weaker.
Please call your Legislators ASAP to let them know you support SB541 and want them to stand firm against weakening HB56.
The Federation of Americans For Immigration Reform (FAIR) has put together the following fact sheet on Alabama’s new immigration law. As you can see, much of what the main stream media says about it has little basis in fact. Before we start to discuss what changes, if any, should be made, it is important to understand what the legislation actually says and the legal authority behind it. The information below is helpful in clearing much of that up!
To view the full document, click here.
Last year, we commended the Alabama legislature for having passed the toughest anti-illegal immigration law in the United States. Now the trick is to keep it that way. The law has already been partially upheld in federal court, so we’re off to a good start, but we recognize that some tweaks may be necessary. We are currently evaluating the proposal by the original bill’s sponsor, Rep. Micky Hammon. Keeping in mind that we still have questions that need to be answered and expert opinions to consider, we have several initial thoughts.
First, we are concerned about the sheer number of changes that are made. The new version of the bill looks a lot different from the original version and we are worried the courts will think so too. In fact, 22 of the 34 sections in the bill are changed–that’s a full two-thirds of the legislation. Specifically, we’re worried the 11th Circuit might decide not to hear the current case since the bill they are now evaluating would no longer exist in that form. This would mean we would have to start the entire legal process over again, and it could take years before we get closure on the law.
Our second concern is that a lot of the provisions being tweaked have already been upheld by the courts. For example, HB56 requires a law enforcement officer during a lawful stop, detention, or arrest to conduct an immigration status check of individuals if the officer reasonably suspects the individual is illegally in the United States. (SeeH.B. 658, p.37; Ala. Code § 31-13-12). HB658 limits the requirement to conduct immigration status checks to only situations where an individual is arrested or issued a traffic ticket. It expressly allows for immigration status checks of the passengers in a car, if the driver has been arrested or issued a traffic ticket. (H.B. 658, p.37) The original provision was not enjoined by the court in the current lawsuit and we question the need for changes.
Finally, check out the analysis below prepared by the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform. Please take a few minutes to review their assessment of the changes. We share their concerns that many of these changes weaken the legislation.
Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange had a great op-ed in the Mobile Press-Register yesterday explaining his position on Alabama’s new immigration law. A BIG thanks to Big Luther for doing such a wonderful job defending Alabama!
By LUTHER STRANGE
Special to the Press-Register
As the attorney general of Alabama, it is my duty to uphold and defend the laws of the state as they are passed by the Legislature and signed into law by our governor. Earlier this year, Alabama’s immigration law was passed and then signed into law by Gov. Robert Bentley.
The law was immediately challenged, and my office has been litigating the issue in federal court.
Recently, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice sent a letter to certain Alabama school districts directing them to produce a laundry list of data. Because this particular issue received considerable attention in the media, I thought it would be helpful to ensure my position is clear regarding this matter.
This data — much of which is not currently collected by schools and would require many hours and scarce resources to compile — was purportedly sought by the Justice Department to determine whether the new law discourages children from attending school.
As counsel for the state superintendent of education in the ongoing litigation initiated by the Justice Department on these same issues, I advised the superintendent that the school districts were not compelled to reply.
Why? Because when the Civil Rights Division receives a complaint about alleged discrimination in Alabama schools, the law requires it to notify school officials and allow the schools and our state to take steps to correct the problem. We are still awaiting this information.
This theme of cooperation between the federal government and the states runs throughout federal law — from protecting civil rights in schools to enforcing federal immigration law. Congress has repeatedly instructed the federal government to work with states, not against them.
We are a nation of immigrants. That is one of our great strengths. I have personally recruited industry from around the world to Alabama. And those businesses are thriving here.
What is really at stake is the rule of law, on which all our freedoms are founded.
Everyone agrees that the existing immigration law should be enforced by the federal government. Unfortunately, the federal government has failed in its responsibility to enforce its own laws.
That leaves the states to deal with the issue, as we’ve witnessed in Arizona, Indiana, Utah, Georgia, South Carolina and here in Alabama. I have no doubt that other states will follow.
As this debate swirls and the political winds blow, I am and will continue to be focused on my job of enforcing the laws of Alabama through the proper legal channels. And I sincerely hope to have the cooperation of the Department of Justice in the process.
To those who’d like to inject the old images of Alabama from 1963, I reiterate what I have made clear from the day I took office: I have and will always enforce the law equally and fairly without regard to race, gender, ethnicity or political party.
My office is determined to see that all of our schoolchildren are protected from unlawful activity.
As I have said many times, Alabama officials are not going to do anything that violates any individual’s constitutional rights. Such illegal actions will not be tolerated as long as I am Alabama’s attorney general. That is where I stand.
Luther Strange is attorney general of Alabama. His email address is [email protected].
In case you missed it, there was a great profile on Kansas Secretary of State (and the author of Alabama’s new immigration law) Kris Kobach in yesterday’s Mobile Press-Register. They cite Eagle Forum of Alabama’s annual conference as Kobach’s first engagement in the state:
Kobach got his introduction to Alabama politics in 2007, through a conference hosted in Birmingham by the Eagle Forum of Alabama, a conservative think tank. There, he met state Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, who said the two developed a relationship that centered on their shared concerns about the nation’s immigration policy.