National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America


Alabama: Making the Wrong Kind of History

September 28, 2011


Washington, D.C.On September 28, a federal judge in Alabama refused to block the toughest provisions of Alabama’s extreme immigration law, H.B. 56 – the harshest in the nation. The sections that the judge allowed to proceed include: Making it a state crime for an undocumented immigrant to not carry documents required by federal law, requiring police to make a reasonable attempt to determine immigration status for anyone they stop, detain, or arrest when they “reasonably suspect” the individual is illegally in the country, making it a felony for an undocumented immigrant to do business with the state – for instance obtaining water service — and requiring Alabama public school officials to determine if enrolling children were born outside the United States or are children of undocumented immigrants. The following is a statement by Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum:



“Just this month the Southern Poverty Law Center gave the state of Alabama an “A” in teaching its children about civil rights history – a history the state of Alabama played a notorious role in shaping.  Well, today, the state of Alabama keeps making history in all the wrong ways.


U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn’s ruling is a sad day in our nation’s history. For the court to allow sections of a law to go into effect in Alabama when they have been found unconstitutional elsewhere is puzzling.


This ill-conceived and inhumane law will burden local police departments with responsibilities that belong to the federal government and it will prove to be extremely costly to enforce, and extremely costly to the reputation of Alabama. It will undermine public safety while being a direct affront to our constitutional values. Families will be under siege, parents will be afraid to send their children to school, and workers will be afraid to report to their jobs. In the United States of America, no one should have to be afraid to walk down the street because of the color of their skin. This law tramples on the civil rights of ALL Alabamans.


Let’s not forget who is at fault here: Governor Robert Bentley signed the bill passed by Republican extremists that rule the Alabama legislature. The deficit of leadership in the U.S. Congress and their inaction on immigration reform has let the states run amok with proposals that attack our American values of fairness and equal treatment.


Today’s ruling on this stringent immigration law should be a wake-up call for Congress to finally fix the immigration system.



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