Tag: immigration reform

“Sessions Denounces Senate Dems for Colluding with WH to Implement Exec Amnesty Post-Election

Senator Sessions released the following on Friday, September 5th after a Politico report on the President’s plans to delay action on executive amnesty until after the midterm elections.

 

NEWS RELEASES

SEP 05 2014

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, issued the following statement today after a Politico report about Senate Democrats’ continued support for the President’s planned executive amnesty, modified only by their desire to alter the timing until after the election:

“A development today reported by Politico ought to send shudders down the spine of those who care about our representative system of government. In an article entitled ‘More Senate Democrats urge Obama to delay immigration order,’ we learn that Senate Democrats—instead of opposing the President’s executive amnesty—urge him to issue it afterthey face voters in November. As one office relayed to Politico: ‘Obama should use his executive authority to make fixes to the immigration system, but after the November elections.’

The only thing that is more shocking than Senate Democrats’ support for the President’s planned executive amnesty is the cravenness of asking him to proceed beginning the day after the midterms. Once again, powerful politicians are colluding with powerful interest groups to deny you, the American citizen, the protection of your laws and your voice in government. They don’t care what you want, or what you think—they scorn and mock our good and decent citizens for wishing their laws to be enforced.

Never in recent memory has the divide between the everyday citizen and the political elite been as wide as it is now.

Just today, the President reiterated his commitment to implement an executive amnesty that would include work authorization for millions of people who entered illegally or illegally overstayed a visa—allowing them to compete for any job in America. His planned action would also reportedly include a massive boost to the already-huge supply of low-wage labor brought into the U.S. for large corporations.

The immigration debate comes down to several central questions:

  • Does our country have the right to control its borders and decide who comes to live and work here?
  • Do citizens have the right to expect and demand that the laws passed by their elected representatives be enforced?
  • Should American workers get priority for jobs and wages?

Any Senator who believes the answers to these questions are ‘yes’ must support the House-passed bill to block the President’s planned executive amnesty—and demand Leader Reid call it up for a vote. Not one Senate Democrat has done so.

A sovereign nation establishes rules about who can enter, work, and live within its borders. In every imaginable way, the President has worked to dismantle these rules—on the border, in our courts, through our visa system, through our asylum system, through our exit-entry system. And with this planned executive action, the President proposes to scrub away what remains of these rules. And Senate Democrats will have been partners in its commission.”

2012 Legislative Wrap Up

Sorry for the delay in our legislative wrap up, but I’ve been a little under the weather…

The big story of the 2012 Alabama legislative session isn’t what passed, but what didn’t.  The session began with two big, controversial issues–charter schools and immigration reform–on the tip of everyone’s tongue.  Alabama being one of the few states in the union without a charter school law, a handful of Alabama legislators had made passing such a law their top priority.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, Alabama already has the toughest immigration law in the country and there were a lot of people committed to weakening it.

 

Let’s start with charter schools. Why has Alabama never authorized the establishment of charter schools? I’m afraid you’ll find there is no satisfactory answer.  Maybe that’s why Representative Phil Williams and Senator Dick Brewbaker set out to drastically change the course of education in Alabama by taking on the Goliath known as AEA with their media disinformation campaigns.  Additionally, a very stealthy and clever campaign was being waged on our conservative legislators by the State Superintendents Association.  Doubts were planted in the minds of some of our best and brightest Republican legislators over whether or not we could afford charter schools even though state money spent would have been the same per child and whether or not they were really effective.  Unfortunately, many of these doubts took hold and resulted in a Senate version of a charter school law that did everything but create charter schools.  Thankfully, some legislators realized that it was the better part of wisdom to regroup and come back again next year with a better bill and more organized effort.  Alas, Alabama must survive another year without parental choice in public education.

 

The second big fight this session was over an issue Alabama has already taken the lead on–immigration reform.  Last year, the Alabama legislature showed it had the courage of its conviction and passed the toughest immigration law in the nation–HB56.  Considering the controversial nature of said law, it is only natural there would be a lot of time and money spent trying to weaken it. But, there were also legitimate changes that needed to be made to make the law more enforceable.  One of the original law’s original sponsors, Rep. Micky Hammon, introduced a set of revisions filed as HB658.  Eagle Forum of Alabama–along with several tea party groups, immigration reform organizations, and law enforcement oriented activists–opposed several of the revisions contained in HB658 based on our belief that it would significantly weaken the original law.  Another original sponsor of the law, Senator Scott Beason, stepped in at this point and was able to work with Rep. Hammon, law enforcement, and others and come to an agreement that made the necessary changes to strengthen the original law without weakening its effect.  These changes were passed on the last day.  Governor Bentley put the issue on the call in the ensuing Special Session but according to press reports, he could not find any legislators willing to introduce the additional changes he had listed on his website, so he signed the law.

 

There were a few other notable pieces of legislation that passed including Sen. Greg Reed’s Federal Abortion Mandate Opt Out Act and Sen. Gerald Dial’s SB477 to protect Alabama citizens from power grabs under the UN’s Agenda 21 Initiative.  This vital bill is a first in the nation and passed with no dissenting votes. It would “prohibit state, counties, etc., from developing environmental and developmental policies that would infringe on the due process of citizens”.  Rep. Paul DeMarco’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights passed both houses but was pocket vetoed.  In other words, Gov. Bentley chose not to sign it.

 

Unfortunately a bill to lower the mandatory school age from seven to six passed both Houses before we realized it.  It has always been our position that parents should decide when their children are ready for formal schooling, not the state. Although the bill provides for a delay until age seven if a parent writes the local school board, we anticipate that without vigilance on our part, this provision will be stripped in the future.

 

But sadly, there were a lot of others that didn’t pass–among them Sen. Cam Ward’s SB84 to prohibit the use of foreign law in Alabama courts and Rep. Steve McMillan’s Fair Ballot Commission Act (HB481).  We regretted that the Attorney General’s packet of law enforcement bills  – specifically increasing penalties for illegal gambling enterprises from misdemeanor to felonies.

 

Two good resolutions of note were passed.  Both houses concurred on Sen. Waggoner’s resolution that asks Congress to prevent the Environmental and Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions without Congressional approval. Sen. Dick Brewbaker’s resolution that passed the Senate but was not brought to a vote in the House “encourages the State Board  of Education to take all steps it deems appropriate, including revocation of the adoption of the [Common Core] initiative’s standards if necessary, to retain complete control over Alabama’s academic standards, curriculum, instruction, and testing system.”

 

So while conservatives in the Alabama legislature weren’t able to make any great strides in area of education reform, they were able to prevent the teeth from being stripped out of one of the great accomplishments Alabama has–our immigration law.

 

 

 

More Alabamians Back To Work After Passage Of Landmark Immigration Law

Opponents called the law evil, racist and defamed the character of those who supported it, but their attacks ring somewhat hollow now that evidence has shown it is working.  That’s right!  Alabama had one of the largest drops in unemployment in the country for the 3rd month in a row!  Unemployment has dropped from 9.8% when the law took effect in September 2011 to 8.1% as of December 2011.  The December 2011 drop from 8.7% to 8.1% was the largest in the country.  Below, Fox News discusses the trend and its correlation to the new immigration law.

AG Luther Strange Explains His Position on AL’s New Immigration Law

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].

Great Profile Of Author of AL Immigration Law, Kris Kobach, In The Press-Register

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.

More On Yesterday’s Ruling On Immigration Bill

We’ve spoken with one of the nation’s top immigration lawyers, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who had this to say about yesterday’s ruling:

“The decision was a significant victory for Alabama.  Judge Blackburn sustained 75% of Alabama’s HB 56, including the most important sections.  This decision vindicates the Republican legislative sponsors of the bill, who were determined to address the problem of illegal immigration in Alabama.  They and I drafted the law carefully so that it would withstand judicial scrutiny, and that has proven to be the case.”

Kris also said the ruling will help other states wanting to deal with the issue of illegal immigration:

“Alabama’s victory will help other states that are trying to discourage illegal immigration too.  Judge Blackburn rejected most of the flawed reasoning of the Ninth Circuit’s decision striking down the Arizona law.  This decision stands as a strong counterweight to the Ninth Circuit.”

On that note, Alabama College Republican Chairman, Cliff Sims, has a great op-ed in today’s Daily Caller about the effect of Judge Blackburn’s ruling.  You can check it out here, but below are some highlights.

A Victory For The Rule Of Law

Today, U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn lifted a temporary injunction on key parts of Alabama’s new immigration law.  Known as the Beason-Hammon Taxpayer and Citizens Protection Act, the law is currently the strongest in the country.  The U.S. Department of Justice filed suit against the state and asked Judge Blackburn for an injunction to prevent the state from enforcing the law until the matter had been settled in court.

After hearing arguments from both sides, Blackburn issued a temporary injunction for 30 days while she considered the claims.  Today’s ruling issued a more permanent injunction on a few provisions of the law, but the majority of the law will be enforced starting October 1.

The Huntsville Times has a good run down of exactly which provisions were allowed to go forward and which were more permanently enjoined.

Blackburn upheld a provision of the state law related to police stops and detentions of people suspected of being in the country illegally.

She also upheld sections requiring schools to check the citizenship status of children and sections that would nullify contracts knowingly entered into with unauthorized aliens.

Blackburn also upheld a section making it a felony for “an alien not lawfully present in the United States” to apply for a license plate, driver’s license, business license or other business license.

On other provisions, Blackburn ruled the state:

» Can’t stop an “unauthorized alien” from seeking work as an employee or independent contractor.

» Can’t prosecute those who assist unauthorized aliens. She blocked a large section that would make it against the law to conceal, harbor, transport or encourage an illegal alien to stay in Alabama. This includes portions of the law referring to landlords.

» Can’t stop businesses from deducting the wages they pay to unauthorized aliens from their state taxes.

» Can’t create a new protected class of workers. The new law would have allowed workers who were fired or not hired in favor of unauthorized aliens to sue employers for discrimination.

Overall, the ruling was a victory for all those who support and believe in the rule of law.

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

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.