On occasion, I have wondered how many members of the Alabama Legislature have actually read the Alabama Constitution. Hopefully, all have at least read the original document and perhaps some of the many amendments. Apparently, in dealing with the immigration problems, a few of them missed Section 30 which deals specifically with immigration. This section, while it doesn’t deal with illegal immigrants, does set out our state’s Constitutional position on immigration. In that regard, Section 30 reads:
That immigration shall be encouraged; emigration shall not be prohibited, and no citizen shall be exiled.
While illegal immigration creates problems of all sorts, the roles of the states and federal government are quite different. The federal government has a duty to control our country’s borders and to keep illegals out of the country to the extent possible. Immigration policy is without any doubt the direct responsibility of the federal government. The states’ responsibilities, on the other hand, traditionally have been to enforce such laws dealing with immigration that are passed by Congress.
Unfortunately over the past few years, the immigration issue has become highly political with lots of politicians using it to their advantage. The legislation passed by the Alabama Legislature and signed into law will be discussed in the Legislative Section of this issue in more detail. I am not sure that Section 30 was ever considered when the immigration bill was passed and signed into law. But regardless, I predict that before the final chapter is written on this matter, a number of Legislators will regret passing this bill.
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