When Alabama first began implementing its HB 56 anti-immigrant law, the Southern Law Poverty Center (SPLC) set up a hotline for Alabama immigrants and residents to call in with comments and complaints about how the law has affected them. Five months in, SPLC has picked up thousands of calls and collected as many stories, every one of them more egregious than the ones before. They’ve heard it all: stories about undocumented immigrants denied pay, US citizens harassed because they look like immigrants, a family trying to survive without water in their home.
This week, SPLC is releasing a report entitled “Alabama’s Shame: HB 56 and the War on Immigrants,” a collection of 10 of the worst of these stories. Readers learn about Carmen, a Puerto-Rican born American who finds that nobody believes Puerto Rico is part of the United States; Arcelia, a small business owner who has not been allowed to renew the permit for her salon; Isabel, who was robbed of a brand new car because the dealer who sold it to her decided to illegally cancel her loan, and many more.
“[The stories] illustrate the devastating impact HB 56 has had on Alabama Latinos, regardless of their immigration status,” says the report’s introduction. “The stories also illustrate that HB 56 has unleashed a kind of vigilantism, leading some Alabamians to believe they can cheat, harass and intimidate Latinos with impunity. These consequences were easily foreseeable… As the Latinos whose stories are told here can attest, HB 56 has been a dangerous, failed experiment—a humanitarian disaster.”
The report’s collection of humanitarian crimes complements other reports documenting HB 56’s various costs; an economic analysis from the University of Alabama released earlier this month found that HB 56 could end up costing Alabama as much as $11 billion in economic input, and as many as 140,000 jobs.