Alabama now has a new illegal immigration law, one being called the toughest in the country, and it’s already causing a great deal of heated discussion. I don’t believe anybody really thinks the new law won’t cause our state some major problems. There are parts of this law that will be extremely costly and also very difficult to enforce. For example, the law contains provisions requiring public schools to determine students’ immigration status and it also makes it a crime to knowingly give an illegal immigrant a ride of any sort. It authorizes police officers to arrest anyone “suspected” of being an illegal immigrant if they are stopped for “any other reason.” Alabama employers will be required to use a federal system called E-Verify to determine if new workers are in the country legally.
I have to wonder if all of the companies in Alabama presently hiring Mexican workers fully realize what has happened to them and how it will affect them economically. I understand Legislators are already hearing from farmers, folks in the poultry industry, landscape company owners, home builders, road contractors, restaurant owners and many others. All these folks have routinely hired Mexican workers. The bill’s sponsors – and others who voted for it – may find that playing politics with the immigration issue might have been a mistake. What the pollsters told them about public opinion on this issue may be shifting. The furor accompanying passage of this legislation reminds me of the days in Alabama when a certain governor back in 1962 was shouting for the world to hear, “Segregation now and segregation forever.” Hopefully, we aren’t living in the past politically in our state.
You can rest assured that this law will be the subject of constitutional challenges. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center, among others, have indicated that they plan to challenge the law. The legal director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, Mary Bauer, confirms that a lawsuit will be filed before the provisions of the law are scheduled to take effect on September 1st. She had this to say about the law: “It is clearly unconstitutional. It’s mean-spirited, racist and we think a court will enjoin it.”
Even though I am not an expert on constitutional law, I don’t believe the law will survive a constitutional challenge. The House sponsor, Rep. Micky Hammon, says the bill was written so that if any part of it is determined to be unconstitutional or violates federal law, the rest will stand. I will be greatly shocked if there will be much left to stand after the courts rule. Alabama’s measure was said to be modeled on a similar law passed in Arizona. A federal judge has already blocked the most controversial parts of Arizona’s law in a ruling last year after the Justice Department sued. A federal appeals court judge upheld the decision. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Our neighboring state, Georgia, also passed a law cracking down on immigration this year, and civil liberties groups have filed a lawsuit in an effort to block it.
With all of the serious problems facing our state and the apparent lack of money, I have to wonder why illegal immigration has taken center stage with our political leaders. School administrators, who are losing teachers and the ability to even buy supplies, will now have an additional burden. Law enforcement officers, who are already overworked and grossly underpaid, will be required to take on a new responsibility under the law. I doubt they will be able to enforce this law. Once those who have been employing hard-working Mexicans realize what has happened to them, they may be ready to “leave the Tea Party” and demand that the Legislature repeal the law. I understand lots of Legislators are already getting calls!
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.