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].