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Alabama takes strict stand on illegal immigration

Alabama has joined the growing number of states fed up with the federal government’s perceived inability, or blatant unwillingness, to enforce its own immigration laws.

Following in the steps of Arizona, Indiana, Georgia and Utah, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley signed HB56 on June 9. The law is being considered one of the most stringent state anti-illegal immigration laws to date. Already drawing heat from such civil groups as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Southern Poverty Law Center, Bentley nonetheless said he believed the legislation can stand up against legal opposition. (souce: WashingtonTimes online version)

Asserting that illegal immigration causes “economic hardship and lawlessness in this state”, the Alabama law addresses a “compelling public interest to discourage illegal immigration”. When public agencies provide benefits without determining legal immigration status of recipients, the lawmakers assert, they further encourage more foreign nationals to enter to the United States illegally.

Alabama’s new measures go beyond the controversial legislation introduced by Arizona’s SB1070 last year. In light of other similar laws being challenged by judicial overthrow, lawmakers said they wrote the legislation in language that would protect the entirety from being thrown out if singular items are ruled unconstitutional or contrary to federal law.

The law relates to nearly every facet of daily life, from employment to education to housing, including some of the following measures that will take effect Sept. 1.

Law enforcement provisions:

  • Gives police officers authority to detain suspected illegal aliens if they’re stopped for another reason.
  • The law presumes an alien with a valid, unexpired Alabama driver’s license, non-driver identification card, or several other recognized documents (listed within the law), to be legally present in the United States.

Education provisions:

  • Requires schools to determine the citizenship and immigration status of students.
  • Requires school districts to “compile certain data” for report to the State Board of Education, to get an accurate number of unlawfully present aliens are enrolled, and thereby determine how much of state educational resources used for unlawful aliens.
  • Prohibits unlawful aliens from enrolling in post-secondary educational facilities, or from receiving financial benefits for post-secondary education.
  • Prohibits unlawful aliens from receiving any state of local public benefits (with certain exceptions);
  • Prohibits eligibility for educational benefits that are based on residence.

The law also makes criminal the following:

  • Knowingly renting to someone who is in the country illegally.
  • Concealing, harboring, or shielding unauthorized aliens or attempting to do so;
  • Encouraging or inducing someone to enter or reside in the United States illegally.
  • Transporting, or attempting or conspiring to transport an unlawfully present alien in Alabama; also, conspiring to be transported if illegally present in the U.S.;
  • Dealing in false identification documents or committing vital records identity fraud;
  • Voters must show picture identification.

Several of the law’s aspects relate to employment.

  • Employers are required to determine eligibility status of prospective employees by using the E-Verify federal employment-check system before hiring.
  • Employers are prohibited from knowingly employing anyone in the country unlawfully.
  • Employers are prohibited from firing or not hiring a qualified legal candidate for a position while retaining an unauthorized alien, under certain conditions.

While Alabama has taken a hard line to discourage illegal immigration, there are several exceptions written into the law to ensure protection of unlawful aliens from bodily harm or threat or neglect, especially regarding children.

Emergency medical treatment cannot be withheld, and legal status is not required to provide primary and secondary education. Also exempt are those acting in official capacity as first responders, emergency personnel or protective services provider, who may transport, harbor or shelter an illegal alien.

The law also exempts:

  • Short-term, non-cash emergency disaster relief;
  • Public health assistance for immunizations, prenatal care, supplemental nutritional services for Women, Infants and Children (WIC);
  • Soup kitchens, crisis counseling and intervention, and several community-level in-kind services;
  • Child or adult protective services, domestic violence services and any services ‘necessary for the protection of life and safety.’

Southern Poverty Law Center’s director Mary Bauer called Alabama’s restrictions ‘unconstitutional, mean-spirited, and racist’ (source: Washington Times), but the American public remains supportive of tougher border controls, according to a February 2011 report by Pew Research Center. Of those polled, 77 percent put priority on tighter border security, though 42 percent of those also wanted stricter enforcement of existing immigration laws. Thirty-five percent wanted focus on secure borders, while creating a pathway to citizenship. Only 21 percent thought creating a path to citizenship should hold top priority.

If neighboring Georgia is any indication, Alabama’s new law may indeed have the intended effect. Georgia has already begun to see a departure of illegal immigrants after passing similar legislation earlier, according to an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, despite the fact that their House Bill 87 isn’t due for enforcement until July 1. Pew Research’s Hispanic Center estimates nearly half a million illegal immigrants reside in Georgia, putting the state in the top ten for number of unlawfully-present immigrants.

Also scheduled to come into effect July 1 is Indiana’s SEA590. Passed by a wide margin in both the state’s House and Senate, the bill was signed into law May 10 by Gov. Daniels, and hit with an ACLU lawsuit soon after. By targeting businesses to verify lawful presence of employees, the law aims to reduce the economic incentive for illegal immigrants to choose Indiana. The state can also sue businesses to recover unemployment benefits paid to illegal workers.

Utah’s HB497 has been placed on hold by a federal judge, the Deseret News reported earlier this week. That law is the subject of a class-action lawsuit filed by the ACLU and National Immigration Law Center. The Mexican government, followed by several other Central and South American nations have condemned the law, citing “potential international fallout” if Utah moves forward with enforcing their illegal immigration legislation.

Oklahoma and Virginia have also promoted tougher laws on illegal immigration, and are not likely the last.

A 2011 report by the Department of Homeland Security estimated there were 10.8 unauthorized aliens living in the U.S. as of January 2010. Slightly more than 60 percent were from Mexico alone, and 39 percent had entered the nation between 2000 and 2010. The number of illegal immigrants rose 27 percent during that period, the report said.

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  1. Brittanicus says:

    WE THE PEOPLE.

    AMNESTY or as the Pro-illegal immigration groups prefer to label it–Immigration Reform. The truth is not ever going to happen? The 1986 IRCA was a utter calamity and costly for taxpayers. The 1986 (IRCA) Immigration Control and Reform Act that was a mass amnesty, which became the prime deception, played on the American taxpayer of all time. Because of despicably fraud and supreme neglect, the 2 million farmer’s laborers and other illegal workers who were provided a legal course to citizenship, that ultimately turned into 6 million. Even inexplicable those people, who received this pardon, vanished from their usual places of employment and turned up in the job force around the country that Americans citizens had to compete with. Future wise, Congress proposed the I-9 Form (Employment Eligibility Verification Form.) to ensure that all employees presented documentary proof of their legal eligibility, to accept employment in the United States. If the employee has a hiring issue, and chooses to contest an irregularity notice, the employer prints out the “Referral Letter” from the E-Verify program.

    The letter contains information about resolving the problem, as well as the contact information for the (SSA) Social security Administration) or (USCIS) US Citizenship and Immigration Service, depending on which bureau was the source of the non-authorization to resolve the problem? As constantly the open border zealots, US Chamber of Commerce, ACLU and a radical mix of anti American organizations, have used the Liberal Press as a fulcrum to regrettably try to suppress the implementation of E-Verify. Are we not in the poorhouse with China, as it is? But this is no firm binder, because millions more people will strive to reach here, before that ominous Using the media these groups have also brought pressure on the administration not to espouse the Secure Communities law, which identifies criminal aliens through fingerprints by informing ICE. Then Subsequently E-Verify that is increasingly more popular each day by business owners. They are now cautiously aware that an I-9 audit puts their business license in jeopardy, as upheld by the Supreme Court.

    NOW THE RUSH HAS BEGAN TO DEFEND CITIZENS AND LEGAL RESIDENTS AGAINST THE ILLEGAL ALIEN INVASION. FIRST ARIZONA, NOW ALABAMA, GEORGIA AND SOON MANY MORE STATES WILL FOLLOW. E-VERIFY IS THE LAW OF THE LAND AND THOUSANDS OF FOREIGNERS NOT WANTING BE CONFRONTED THESE LAWS, WILL HEAD FOR THOSE STATES THAT HAVE BEEN KIDNAPPED BY THE LEFTIST PROGRESSIVES OF OPEN BORDERS AGENDA’S.

    As with the 1986 (IRCA) bill those who advocate against the laws are profiteers for more wealth, or to accumulate more votes or just to prepare America (according to the WikiLeaks group founder Julian Assange in secret documents) for merging with some kind of traitorous program, with Canada and Mexico with one currency. This stealth agenda was collusion between the Canadian and American Ambassadors.

    The other side of the aisle on the corrupt Washington beltway, says we cannot afford to enforce immigration laws? Then my question we had better figure someway, for as the law stands we are just encouraging more illegal newcomers? So the second question, when does this invasion end, when does the lawmakers install laws, that make it impossible to stop this travesty? Are we just going to leave the doors open and hope for the best? All we are encouraging is even more poverty and distressed people, that taxpayers have to bear the full fiscal impact? Ten years from now, population numbers will be skyrocketing and the only winners are the profit-takers.

    Whether we are coming out this miserable recession or not, we cannot afford any immigration amnesty. The first Amnesty in 1986 Ronald Reagan’s term of office, cost–$76 BILLION DOLLARS–by the time it was fulfilled. In today money it’s expected to cost $2.6 TRILLION DOLLARS as stated the Heritage Foundation. So taxpayers would be expected to cover that bill, lending most of it from China again? Are we not in the poorhouse with China, as it is? But this is no firm binder, because millions more people will strive to reach here, before that ominous inauguration day of a new Immigration Reform bill. If Congress is unable to cut spending in this recent of 14 .5 Trillion dollars US Treasury deficit, can anybody in the right frame of mind, tell us where we intend to get another $2.5 trillion dollars, to subsidize those illegal immigrants already living here? These dollars are inconceivable and even if there was another. It’s outrageous that Washington politicians would expect to bleed even more money from traumatic Taxpayers, when we are confronted by rejuvenating two nations abroad, in millions of dollars a day.

    Amnesty, it will only further multitudes of people to come here? Washington legislators come and go, author bills, but are never held accountable for the financial wrecks they leave behind? Only Secure Communities, E-Verify can mitigate some of the pressure that will make foreign nationals think twice before crossing the border, or entering America by other means. This isn’t about any particular race, a person’s politics, religion as we are all suffering. It’s not even about the legal Hispanic population, as they are under the same pain of finding a job, stagnant wages and some type of exploitation. We are all the same boat and without stringent restrictions on immigration and its costs, that boat is heading towards rough waters and could easily sink. The TEA PARTY will slow down this process by confronting Washington aggressively on birthright citizenship to rescind it, which will sever the bond of 300.000 babies from foreign nation getting instant citizenship; cutting down on the annual monolithic cost to subsidize these offspring and families.

    It will also bring to a halt, which it attributed to this wrongly conferred law, saving taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars a year? The TEA PARTY will examine these unfair taxes placed on Americans, by Liberal oriented courts, to appoint obligations to educate, provide health care that comes with the never ending tide of illegal aliens skirting our laws. The TEA PARTY will created bills to up the penalty, for entering America as a felony. This should have been the law of the land, decades ago? Personally, it has always translated to prove there was no serious intention to enforce these laws. It’s in the vein of a conspirator’s reason, why the Southern border fences completion remains a fiasco. The Tea Party will enforce the 1986 (IRCA) law as was planned, with no complicity of government agencies to stifle those laws, such as the business influence.

    The TEA PARTY in 2012 will remove the Liberal influence and even have the empowerment to construct the real border fence, and mandating with no exemptions E-Verify and Secure Communities and indefinitely remove Sanctuary Cities nationwide. As the Tea Party grows against the powerful influences in Washington, these Representatives like TEA PARTY Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota will retire those pro-illegal immigrant politicians, Governors, mayors and all those who have adversely affected strong laws that have been introduced. The American People should not be forced by law, to pay for the impoverished people that trespass into America from other countries.

    We can aid our fellow legal workers out, by taking immigration one step towards generic “Citizens Arrest. We cannot apprehend a suspicious individual, as it could lead to legal action. But we have the opportunity to join other “Whistle blowers” to inform ICE or local police as irregularities stand out. Not speaking reasonable English is a dead give-away, specifically in factory environment and if somebody has an accident through not comprehending a warning notice.

    The time is ripe to contact their federal and State Representatives to insist they enact mandatory E-Verify, Secure Communities for every State, at the Senate—202-224–3121/ House—202-225–3121.