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Alabama’s Extreme Immigration Law Even Trumps Arizona’s SB 1070

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Alabama has jumped on the anti-immigrant bandwagon, with a new state law so nativist that news outlets have taken to unequivocally describing it as the new “toughest immigration law in the nation.”

As if Arizona, with its SB 1070 law that cost $750 million and turned the state into a pariah wasn’t enough.  As if Georgia, with a new immigration law that criminalized all individuals who harbored or transported undocumented immigrants wasn’t enough.  As if Indiana‘s not one, but two new anti-immigration laws weren’t enough.

The Alabama bill was passed by the state legislature last week and is modeled on SB 1070 (it copies some portions of Arizona’s 17-page law verbatim). Like SB1070, the anti-immigrant law in Alabama would:

  • Allow local law enforcement to demand papers from and detain those they believe are in the country illegally. 

  • Make it a crime for undocumented immigrants to hold a job in Alabama, and make it a crime for any immigrant in the state to be caught without documentation proving status. 

  • Make it illegal to sign a contract with undocumented immigrants, to knowingly rent property to them, to knowingly hire them for jobs. 

  • Require businesses to use E-Verify, the government database of names, to check employees’ legal status.

Unlike the immigration laws that have come before it, Alabama’s monster also would also take on education, by outright barring undocumented immigrants from enrolling in any public college after high school.  It would force parents to report the immigration status of their children to public schools, so that the schools could keep legal status records of all their students and document the costs of educating undocumented children.