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Leaders Call for Washington’s Help in Ending Civil Rights and Humanitarian Crisis in Alabama

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alabama press conferenceAs Alabama continues to enforce the harshest immigration law in the land, faith, civil rights, and Hispanic group leaders came to Capitol Hill today to ask lawmakers to put an end to the “man-made humanitarian crisis” unfolding in the state.

Telling stories of racial profiling, harassment, violent thefts, assault, threat of murder, and worse, the panel of leaders explained how Alabama has made it so clear that undocumented immigrants are unwelcome, that the state has become a sponsor of hate against all immigrants and Hispanics.

As Mary Bauer, Legal Director of the Southern Poverty Law Center and one of the speakers today said:

This is a comprehensive law that was designed by its drafters to affect every aspect of an immigrant’s life, and it has done so.  And the damage is extreme.

She and the other panelists spoke of undocumented immigrants in Alabama who have been refused all state services, and so could not obtain birth certificates for their American-born children; the husband of a nine-month pregnant woman who saw no choice but to drive her to Florida to give birth; a court judge who told a domestic abuse victim that he would report her to ICE; another court judge who said that anyone who asked for an interpreter would be suspected of being undocumented and reported; an American citizen from Ohio who was barred from making a purchase simply because he did not have an Alabama state ID; an immigrant outside his workplace who was threatened by armed white men in a pickup truck who told him they would kill him if he was still there tomorrow.

Marielena Hincapie, Executive Director of the National Immigration Law Center and the moderator of the event, described how one undocumented man had agreed to take back a car that he had previously sold to a woman some time ago.  When he—with his wife and two-year old child—went to meet the woman at a gas station, she asked that they follow her to her home.  She instead led them to an alley, where another car of armed individuals forced the family down to the ground and stole their car and all their possessions.