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Leave it to Alabama

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Immigration Bill Shows State Hasn’t Learned Lessons of the Past 

The news that Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R-AL) signed into law a new “papers, please” immigration bill is a new low point for state-based immigration policy, an unfortunate reminder of Alabama and the South’s tortured racial history, and another wake-up call to Washington to fix the broken immigration system. 

As the Los Angeles Times wrote, the “law, combined with legislation passed in May by neighboring Georgia, has arguably made this swath of the Deep South the nation’s hottest immigration battleground, with the region’s troubled racial history fueling the fire.”  Wade Henderson, President and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, aptly noted, “This draconian initiative signed into law this morning by Gov. Robert Bentley is so oppressive that even Bull Connor himself would be impressed…HB 56 is designed to do nothing more than terrorize the state’s Latino community.”

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund, “Alabama hasn’t learned the lessons of the past – either its own troubled history of racial and ethnic strife, or the costly and ineffective aftermath of state anti-immigrant measures, like Arizona’s SB1070 or California’s notorious Proposition 187.  Leave it to Alabama to witness the economic and civic toll incurred by Arizona and decide not only to model itself after that state’s law, but to go a step beyond.  Yet by turning elementary school teachers into immigration agents, that’s exactly what they have done.  It’s an unfortunate reminder that without a Washington fix, the immigration debate will keep spiraling in a dangerous and untenable direction.”

America’s Voice Education Fund — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform.