MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama vaulted past Arizona on Thursday with what is being called the most restrictive law in the nation against illegal immigration, requiring schools to find out if students are in the country lawfully and making it a crime to knowingly give an illegal immigrant a ride.I don't know just the estimated legal workforce population in the state of Alabama. However, the total population of the state is somewhere around 5 million according to data from the Census Bureau's 2009 figures. That would mean, that there must be a lot of people not able or allowed to work (you know, like those fat rednecks riding those hoverounds at Walmart) if 120,000 undocumented workers have stolen all the jobs. Either that or their weren't enough jobs to begin with down in good Ole Alabama.
Advocacy groups promised to challenge the sweeping measure, which like Arizona's law also allows police to arrest anyone suspected of being an illegal immigrant if the person is stopped for some other reason. In addition, it requires all businesses to check the legal status of workers using a federal system called E-Verify.
"It is clearly unconstitutional. It's mean-spirited, racist, and we think a court will enjoin it," said Mary Bauer, legal director for the Southern Poverty Law Center.
It takes effect Sept. 1.
Republican Gov. Robert Bentley, who signed it into law Thursday, expressed confidence it would withstand any legal challenges.
"We have a real problem with illegal immigration in this country," he said. "I campaigned for the toughest immigration laws, and I'm proud of the Legislature for working tirelessly to create the strongest immigration bill in the country."
Alabama has an estimated 120,000 illegal immigrants, a nearly fivefold increase from a decade ago, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. Many of them are believed to be working on farms, at chicken processing plants and in construction.
One of the legislation's sponsors, GOP Sen. Scott Beason, said it would help the unemployed by preventing illegal immigrants from getting jobs in the state. Alabama's unemployment rate stood at 9.3 percent in April, the most recent figure available.
"This will put thousands of Alabamians back in the work force," Beason said.
Of course this is a tired argument often used by the anti-immigrant movement. Let them tell it, the reason unemployment in this entire country is as high as it is, is due in large part to teh illegals stealing jobs. And sadly, the ignorant among us are falling for this hook line and sinker like they always do.
[...] Linton Joaquin, general counsel for the National Immigration Law Center in Los Angeles, said the Alabama law covers all aspects of an immigrant's life.This is awesome, I can't wait for them to post their "Whites Only" signs like they used to do back in the day. At the rate they're going, I won't be surprised if Black folks are counted as three-fifths human, and be forced to pick cotton for free all over again. Don't think it can happen? OK, you g'head and keep thinking that;.there's currently a ban in place on ethnic studies in Arizona, so...
"It is a sweeping attack on immigrants and people of color in general. It adds restrictions on education, housing and other areas. It is a very broad attack," Joaquin said.
Among other things, the law makes it a crime for landlords to knowingly rent to an illegal immigrant.
Another provision makes it a crime to transport a known illegal immigrant. Arizona's law appears narrower: It includes language against human smuggling and makes it illegal to pick up laborers for work if doing so impedes traffic.
Alabama's law also goes further in requiring schools to check the immigration status of their students. The measure does not prohibit illegal immigrants from attending public schools; lawmakers said the purpose instead is to gather data on how many are enrolled and how the much the state is spending to educate them.