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Even Alabama’s Governor Considering Some Changes to Anti-immigant Law

by Mahwish Khan on 12/12/2011 at 11:03am

alabama ugliesApparently, even Alabama’s leaders are slowly grasping the magnitude of the embarrassment that is swirling around their state because of HB 56. Last week, we reported that the State’s Attorney General Luther Strange wanted to make some changes to the anti-immigrant law. 

At Firedoglake, David Dayen reports on the news that Alabama’s Governor, Robert Bentley, is making noises about changing the state’s harsh anti-immigrant law, which Bentley signed just a couple months ago:

[A]fter some state lawmakers and the state Attorney General acknowledged that changes need to be made to the law to avoid what they called “unintended consequences” (actually, they were entirely intended from the premise of creating a immigration police state), Governor Robert Bentley agrees.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley said on Friday he would work to revise the state’s tough new immigration law following embarrassing incidents of foreign workers being detained because they were not carrying sufficient identification.

Bentley, House Speaker Mike Hubbard and Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, said in a statement they do not plan to repeal or weaken the law, widely considered to be the toughest state immigration law in the nation.

“We recognize that changes are needed to ensure that Alabama has not only the nation’s most effective law, but one that is fair and just, promotes economic growth, preserves jobs for those in Alabama legally, and can be enforced effectively and without prejudice,” Bentley said.

Sadly, if it wasn’t for the auto executive arrests, the state leadership would still be in denial about it. The business community clearly told them to fix the law and fix it now. But as the economic consequences mount, this is likely to be a first step to either a de-fanging or just a straight repeal of the law. All it will take is one big business to leave the state and they’ll cave.

David is right. Everything that’s happening as a result of HB 56 “were entirely intended.” In fact, as we’ve noted before, vocal supporters of Alabama’s worst-in-the-nation immigration law, including bill sponsor State Senator Scott Beason (R-AL), Congressman Mo Brooks (R-AL), U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), anti-immigrant leader Mark Krikorian, and immigration law architect and current Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) – think HB 56 is working exactly as they intended.  For them, damage to the state’s bottom line and reputation are mere bumps in the road on the way to creating a climate of fear and hostility aimed at forcing the entire immigrant community from the state. But, Alabama already has a well-known history of discrimination and racism. And, the controversy surrounding the state’s new anti-immigrant law is just reinforcing that ugly image.  

State Senator Beason, who, as Joey Kennedy documented, has become something of an embarrassment to the state on his own, is undaunted. He wants no changes:

“My position is that I have no intention to support any measure that would weaken the anti-immigration law,” Beason said.

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