Civil rights groups will once again be gathering in Montgomery and Birmingham to protest what is viewed as “the nation’s toughest crackdown on illegal immigration.” This week’s expected demonstrations are in response to the looming implementation date of H.B. 56, a bill authored by Alabama State Senator Scott Beason, and signed into law in June by Governor Robert Bentley.
Beginning September 1st, the legislation authorizes state law enforcement to detain any person they suspect of being an illegal immigrant, “requires public schools to inquire into immigration status of students, makes it a crime for an illegal immigrant to seek work, and makes it a crime to knowingly transport or harbor an illegal immigrant.” Both supporters and protestors of the law, however, are in limbo as they await a ruling by US District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn who said Wednesday, “There are a lot of problems with this statute. My job is to decide if this is constitutional.”
U.S. Attorney General William Orrick, “argues that the federal administration ‘speaks with one voice on immigration issues,’ and says allowing this law to be implemented would ‘risk a patchwork of 50 states with 50 different immigration laws’ that don’t match up with the federal government’s immigration policies.”
Senator Beason has another perspective, telling WAFF news that “‘We’re just saying we’re going to pass our own version of what you [the federal government] already have, and we’re going to enforce it within our borders of the state of Alabama.’”
Exactly how the United States should reform its immigration policies has been a fierce debate, placed at center stage when Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed the controversial SB 1070 just over a year and a half ago.
photo via SF Sentinel