Tag: Rep. Micky Hammon

Will the Strongest Immigration Bill in Country Be Weakened?

Will the strongest immigration bill in the country be weakened?  Not if we can help it.  Call your Senator and make it clear that you want them to pass SB541 if they decide to make any changes to the immigration law.  HB658 is NOT acceptable!!  Below are some good examples of how HB658 will weaken HB56.

 

WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF HOW HB 658 WEAKENS HB 56?  (None of the following are in SB 541.)

  • HB 658 repeals the provision that makes it a crime to encourage/induce illegal aliens to move to/remain in Alabama.  Yet federal law prohibits “encouraging or inducing aliens to come to or reside in the United States.”
  • HB 658 adds exclusion for churches or church-related organizations so they can knowingly conceal, harbor or shield aliens.  There is exemption in federal law for bona fide nonprofit religious groups, but the exception in HB 658 is very broad and goes beyond that which is exempt under federal law. 
  • HB 658 restricts definitions of “contractor” and “state funded entity” to mean only entities that receive more than 50% total revenue (within last three years) from public funds.  HB 56 prohibits hiring of any unauthorized aliens and requires all contractors to use E-Verify.
  • HB 658 raises the bar of proof prohibitively high for employees to prove employers fired/replaced them with illegal aliens so that employers can get virtual immunity.
  • HB 658 removes the permanent revocation of business licenses after the second violation.  Employers cannot be penalized if second and third violations are not within 5 years of first.

SB541 Is The Right Fix For Alabama’s Immigration Law

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.

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.

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.

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.

Alabama House Passes EF Agenda Items

Yesterday, the Alabama House of Representatives passed two important items on Eagle Form’s legislative agenda.  The first was a tough, Arizona-style immigration law by a vote of 73-28.  Among other things, Rep. Micky Hammon’s HB56 will give state and local police the power to check the immigration status of people who are held for other violations and require employers to verify the immigration status of their employees.  You can find more about the legislation here.

In addition, legislators finished the last of the promised Handshake with Alabama and completed another item on our agenda yesterday by passing an opt out of the federal health care legislation better known as Obamacare.  HB60 preserves the freedom of Alabama citizens to make decisions about and provide for their own health care regardless of federal mandates.

For a complete list of legislation we support, check out our 2011 Legislative Agenda here.

The Week Ahead

Committee Activity:

Senate:

SB34–Amends the Alabama Code to provide child includes children in utero.  A positive drug test at time of birth shall create the presumption of exposure in utero.

SB167–Prohibiting lawsuits against restaurants for obesity

SB 301–Defines “person” to include all humans from the moment of fertilization

SB308–Right to Know and See legislation requiring ultrasounds before abortions

SB202–Federal Abortion Opt Out Act prohibits insurance plans that cover abortion from participating in the state insurance exchange mandated by the Obamacare legislation.

House:

HB425–Moving state presidential preference primary to first Tuesday in March along with the general primary in presidential years.

HB324–moving property tax reappraisal on Class II and Class III property to every four years.

HB123–Education Budget

HB365–Informing consumers of duty to pay state and local sales tax on goods purchased over the internet.

Lots of activity on the House and Senate floor as well.  The General Fund budget is scheduled to pass this week probably Thursday.  I hear the House may take up Rep. Hammon’s immigration legislation (HB56).  It’s the eighth bill on the House Regular Calendar, so there’s a good chance they will take it up.

Highlights from this week’s Regular Calendar:

Senate:

SB84–Limiting liability for property owners who lease for purposes of hunting or fishing.

SB140–Forever Wild reauthorization

SB127–Limiting terms in the Alabama House and/or Senate to 3 terms.

SB112–Removes racist language and references from the Alabama Constitution

SB17–Easing the ballot access requirements

SB50–Tax credits for creating jobs

SB152–Grants small businesses (less than 10 employees) that locate or expand in Alabama a 5-year property tax exemption.

House:

HB32–Moving the presidential preference primary to June beginning in 2012

HB56–Immigration reform legislation