Thursday, December 1, 2011

Extreme Anti-Immigrant Laws Tear Families Apart and Create Fear, Not Jobs | First Focus Campaign for Children

Extreme Anti-Immigrant Laws Tear Families Apart and Create Fear, Not Jobs | First Focus Campaign for Children

Last week, I traveled with several of my House of Representatives colleagues to Birmingham, Ala., to speak out against HB56, a deeply regressive and dangerous law that threatens the livelihood and civil rights of citizens, visitors, and especially immigrants, whether documented or undocumented.

The law doesn’t just require police who “reasonably suspect” someone of being an undocumented immigrant to check their status. It also directs school districts to check the immigration status of every student at every level of education. It even prohibits landlords from renting to someone who may be an undocumented immigrant. It creates an intentional climate of fear well beyond any attempt to make the community safer or more prosperous. It’s already tearing the state apart.

At a field hearing in Birmingham, my colleagues and I heard testimony from Mayor William Bell, Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale, and Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Craig Witherspoon, as well as a local civil rights advocate, a teacher from a local high school, a concerned parent, an undocumented immigrant from Tuscaloosa, a 17-year-old student with undocumented parents, and a local business owner. They told us one thing, loud and clear: Alabama won’t survive if it goes much further down this path.

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