Alabama’s “papers, please” immigration law is the epitome of a self-inflicted wound, bringing severe pain to the state’s agriculture industry and driving away potential tourism dollars. Yet perhaps the most incalculable damage of the Alabama law has been to the state’s reputation.

Alabama’s “papers, please” immigration law is the epitome of a self-inflicted wound, bringing severe pain to the state’s agriculture industry and driving away potential tourism dollars. Yet perhaps the most incalculable damage of the Alabama law has been to the state’s reputation. Unfortunately, the state that grew to symbolize racism and intolerance in the 1950s and 1960s is earning that reputation again today. But key backers of the Alabama law are in denial.

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Ahora que la indignación ha cobrado atención nacional y mundial con las manifestaciones a través del país, debería haber espacio para indignarse por el maltrato a la comunidad inmigrante de Alabama con la HB 56 y por la insensatez de quienes creen que la ley sólo perjudica a indocumentados y no a… Continue »

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told Congress that her department will not be helping Alabama enforce its new immigration law. Which makes a lot of sense considering 1) the Department of Justice is in court trying to overturn the law and 2) the federal government has been a little busy deporting record numbers of undocumented immigrants over the past three years.

The epicenter of the fight over the patchwork of immigration laws in the United States is not Arizona, which shares a border with Mexico and became a common site for boycotts. Nor was it any of the four states that were next to pass their own crackdowns.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed the once-toughest immigration law in the country, was in Huntsville Friday to promote a new book, address the Alabama Federation of Republican Women and to praise Alabama’s own immigration law.

Michelle Bachmann said Saturday she would not help children of immigrants who come to the U.S. illegally. At a campaign stop in Iowa, a Latino college student asked the presidential hopeful what she would do to the children of undocumented immigrants.

Representative Tim Griffin, a Republican freshman from Arkansas with a university in his district, supports legislation that would make it easier for foreign math and science professionals to get legal residency.

Alabama looks like it’s on its own where the state’s punitive immigration law is concerned. But it’s not like we haven’t been here before. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told Congress this week that her department, which includes Immigration and Customs Enforcement, will not help implement Alabama’s immigration law.

In my forthcoming book that chronicles key events of 1963, I argue — as have other historians — that Public Safety Commissioner Eugene “Bull” Connor was the Civil Rights Movement’s best ally in changing the laws in Birmingham. He also changed how the nation viewed civil rights as an issue.