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Alabama passes toughest immigration law yet in US

Posted on June 14, 2011
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Alabama passes toughest immigration law in US

The toughest immigration law in the United States has been passed in the state of Alabama that means that the police and arrest anyone suspected of not have a proper visa.

Schools will be required to inspect the immigration status of pupils and it will be a crime to knowingly give an illegal immigrant a lift in a car.

Alabama employers also are now required to use a federal system called E-Verify to determine if new workers are in the country legally under the law which is due to come into effect on 01 September.

Groups including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Montgomery based Southern Poverty Law Center say they plan to challenge it. Mary Bauer, the legal director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, said that she expects a lawsuit to be filed before it comes into effect.

‘It is clearly unconstitutional. It’s mean spirited, racist and we think a court will enjoin it,’ said Bauer. Sam Brooks, of the SPLC’s Immigrant Justice Project, said the new law will set back progress Alabama has made on civil rights and race relations, adding that it would be costly for the state to enforce and defend the provisions of the law.

One of the sponsors though, Republican Senator Scott Beason of Gardendale said the new law would create jobs and put unemployed Alabama residents back to work.

Jared Shepherd, a lawyer for the ACLU, said that the provisions requiring schools to document the immigration status of students were particularly troublesome.

Alabama’s law was modelled on a similar law passed in Arizona but a federal judge blocked the most controversial parts of Arizona’s law last year after the Justice Department sued. The state is planning to appeal to the US Supreme Court. Georgia also passed a law cracking down on immigration this year and civil liberties groups have filed a lawsuit trying to block it.

Linton Joaquin, general counsel for the National Immigration Law Centre in Los Angeles, said the Alabama law stands out over other states because it covers all parts of an immigrant’s life. ‘It is a sweeping attack on immigrants and people of colour in general. It adds restrictions on education, housing and other areas. It is a very broad attack. The state does not have the right to create its own immigration regime,’ Joaquin said.

He said his organization plans to be involved in lawsuits challenging the new law, adding that it’s already involved in challenges in Utah, Arizona, Indiana and Georgia.

Police must detain someone they suspect of being in the country illegally if the person cannot produce proper documentation when stopped for any reason. It will be a crime to knowingly transport, harbour or provide housing for someone who is in the country illegally.

Penalties will be imposed on businesses that knowingly employ someone without legal resident status. A company’s business licence could be suspended or revoked.

13 June 2011       Ray Clancy

http://www.expatforum.com/america/alabama-passes-toughest-immigration-law-yet-in-us.html

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