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Alabama Faith Leaders Block Doors To State House To Protest Anti-Immigrant Legislation

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Today, Reverend Frank Hammond led a group of immigration advocates — calling themselves “Alabama’s Conscience” — in a protest at the Alabama Senate against their state’s controversial worst-in-the-nation anti-immigrant law, H.B. 56 and legislation under consideration that could make it even worse.

“These laws are, by their very nature, granting permission for average citizens, of all ages to express their bigotry and prejudices towards a specific population,” said Rev. Fred Hammond of Tuscaloosa.

From the press release that was issued shortly after:

Today, on the National Day of Prayer, people of faith sent a powerful message by kneeling in prayer and blocking the doors leading to the Alabama Senate. As legislators continue to ignore the voices of pastors, families, businesses, farmers, and law enforcement officials warning of the disastrous impact of HB 56 and prepare to vote on a new version of the bill that makes some provisions even worse, the group felt compelled to take this serious action as a witness to the need for repealing the law.

Compelled by conscience to ensure the voices of the most vulnerable were heard by legislators who have been unmoved by growing opposition to the law, the group who calls themselves Alabama’s Conscience were removed by state police.  Among those arrested were faith leaders, a student, a retiree, and citizens who were once undocumented immigrants.

Our blog has repeatedly reported on the consequences of the horrible anti-immigrant law in Alabama and its results: tens of thousands of people fleeing the state, kids too afraid to go to school out of fear of their teachers turning them or their parents over to federal agents.

The Alabama Senate could vote on the “tweak” bill at any time. It’s already passed in the Alabama House of Representatives.

Local religious and civil rights leaders have had enough. In a last-ditch effort to make the legislature see how strongly they feel about the anti-immigrant law, they sat in, blocking the doors of the state house this morning and began to pray.  When told to leave, they kept praying.  After some time, they were forcibly taken away by police and arrested.

You can watch video from the event here.