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Alabama House Approves Weak Tweaks to Anti-Immigrant Law, HB 56

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While the Supreme Court is preparing to hear oral arguments on Arizona’s arch-anti-immigrant law SB 1070 next week, Alabama is taking another look at HB 56, the local anti-immigrant law that was inspired by SB 1070.  House representatives voted 64-34 yesterday to approve a tweak bill to the original HB 56 law, a half-measure that would do little to improve the current law — and some revisions would make the already bad law even worse.

Here’s the story from the Birmingham News:

The bill keeps the core of the 2011 immigration law, but makes changes lawmakers said will make the law easier to enforce and less burdensome for legal citizens and businesses. Republicans largely voted for the bill and Democrats against it…

Legislators who want the law to be repealed entirely mounted a filibuster but were ultimately unable to stop a vote. Republicans voted to cut off debate after a little more than five hours.

“It is wrong. It is immoral,” Rep. Mary Moore, D-Birmingham, said of the immigration bill.

Rep. Pebblin Warren, D-Tuskegee, said immigration is a federal problem and that the 2011 law is causing heartbreaking choices for illegal immigrants with American-born children. Other lawmakers said the bill was an “open invitation” for racial profiling.

“It’s still a bad bill. You can’t dress up something that wasn’t good from the beginning,” Rep. A.J. McCampbell, D-Linden, said.

The tweak bill now goes to the state senate, where opponents of HB 56 hope to kill the tweak bill and push for full repeal.