It’s been a crazy year in immigration. As 2011 winds to a close and we reflect back upon the year, it’s hard to believe that just 12 months ago, we were watching the DREAM Act fail in the Senate by a historic 55-41 vote.

The Republican Party’s stance on immigration—and what it means for its candidates’ ability to compete for Latino voters—is shaping up as one of the major storylines this election cycle.

On June 9, 2011, Governor of Alabama Robert Bentley, with the support of the Alabama legislature, signed into law the now-infamous HB 56 immigration bill. Composed of social, political, and economic barbs, the law has completely changed life as we’ve known it for all undocumented immigrants throughout the state.

The Catholic Church in the United States stands with undocumented immigrants, declares a letter written by 33 of the nation’s Hispanic bishops. The letter, released on Dec. 12, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, says the Church sees the suffering face of Jesus in the tribulations of immigrants.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Wednesday made a show of his detention officers turning in badges that came with their authorization to conduct federal immigration screenings in county jails.

To repair or to replace? That simple question captures the complex political quandary facing Gov. Robert Bentley as he grapples with the state’s tough new immigration law. On the left is a coalition of Democratic lawmakers who say the law is an abomination and that it must be repealed.

We have written a lot on our editorial page about immigration policy – or rather the lack of a coherent, comprehensive immigration policy. Sometimes big national issues can boil down to one person’s story.

The Department of Justice Civil Rights Division just released the long-awaited results of its investigation into Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his department. Sheriff Joe’s tactics may have been headline-grabbing, but they have caused serious harm to his community and the people he swore an oath to protect and serve.

A Hispanic advocacy group from northwestern Indiana has launched a second legal challenge to the immigration law approved by the General Assembly this year. East Chicago-based Union Benefica Mexicana filed the lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Hammond, claiming portions of the law are unconstitutional.

It’s almost Christmastime…unless you’re in Alabama. Across the Yellowhammer State, government leaders are still too busy defending the HB 56 extremist immigration law to really start thinking about “the reason for the season.”