The tide is turning.
The struggle to overturn HB 56, Alabama’s harshest-in-the-land immigration law gained a new ally day before yesterday when state attorney general Luther Strange, a Republican, came out in favor of removing certain portions of the law.
Strange joins a growing chorus of Republicans, including Governor Robert Bentley, who acknowledge that the law needs to be changed. Senate Democrats, however, have been pushing for a full repeal of the law since implementation began late September.
Stop requiring K-12 schools to collect information on their undocumented students
Stop requiring undocumented immigrants to carry “alien registration” cards at all times
Repeal a clause that would allow Alabama residents to sue public officials they believe are not adequately enforcing the law
The first two provisions are currently blocked by a federal appeals court, while the third remains enacted law.
HB 56 has come under heavy criticism in recent days, after two foreign auto executives were detained by police for driving without an Alabama state ID (one was arrested, one was fined). The law has battered Alabama’s reputation for months as crops have rotted from lack of available labor, children have been dropping out for fear of attending schools, and families have been split apart. Faith groups, civil rights leaders, business interests, U.S. Congressmen, the Occupy movement, President Obama, an agricultural representative, Pulitzer Prize winners, and a Grammy-winning rap artist have all been a part of the very vocal anti-HB 56 movement.
And then, of course, some people will never change their minds. Following Strange’s announcement, Republican State Representative Mike Hubbard—who apparently believes that the repeal movement is doing more damage to Alabama than the law is—responded via Facebook:
We’re not going to repeal or weaken the law, acquiescing to liberal elites’ and the news media’s efforts to intimidate and shame Alabama.