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Mother Jones Series Takes an In-Depth Look at “the Self-Deportation Movement”

by Mahwish Khan on 03/01/2012 at 3:25pm

tree of tantonMother Jones has an excellent series exploring the different aspects of issue of the immigration issue. The first article, by Paul Reyes, is titled, “‘It’s Just Not Right’: The Failures of Alabama’s Self-Deportation Experiment.” The brief introduction captures what is happening in Alabama: 

What happens when outside agitators work with state politicians to pass the nation’s most draconian anti-immigrant law yet? The Cotton State learned the hard way.

Mother Jones exposes the inner-workings of those agitators in articles about Kris Kobach and another on the broader anti-immigrant network, subtitled, “A guide to the funders, think tanks, lawyers, and politicians behind harsh Arizona-style legislation.”

This is a must read series for anyone interested in the issue. Some of it will be very familiar. From Reyes:

The most draconian yet in a series of nativist laws taking root across the country, HB 56, like Arizona’s SB 1070 before it, criminalizes being in the United States without proper documentation—which under federal law isn’t a crime but a civil violation and cause for deportation. Both laws instruct law enforcement to act upon “reasonable suspicion” during routine traffic stops and arrests to determine whether to detain someone until his residency status can be confirmed through Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Both laws penalize anyone who knowingly employs, harbors, or transports (including giving a coworker a ride) undocumented immigrants, though Alabama’s law goes further in that it penalizes anyone who rents to them. It prevents undocumented immigrants from receiving state or local public services (interpreted by some officials to include running water). It bans them from enrolling in public colleges, from seeking or soliciting work, and requires all businesses and agencies—from poultry plants to laundromats, from the governor’s office to the sanitation department—to use the E-Verify system, a federal database used to determine the legal status of new hires. (Update: The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments from both sides on March 1.)

The bill’s sponsor described it as being modeled after Arizona’s notorious SB 1070, but stressed that it had an “Alabama flavor” in that it “attacks every aspect of an illegal immigrant’s life.”

That’s exactly what happened. Reyes documents that by talking extensively to people affected by HB 56, including farmers and the police chief of Tuscaloosa.

As the Alabama legislature ponders what to do to fix HB 56 (and we say repeal it!), Mother Jones provides an excellent resource on the dangers of the legislation — and the dangerous people behind it.

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