Alabama recently enacted “Arizona-style” immigration legislation designed to be the harshest in the nation, giving police the authority to stop and detain any person who they suspect of being in the state illegally. Undocumented immigrants are barred from receiving any public benefits, including the most basic necessities. Public schools will also be allowed to ascertain immigration status before admitting pupils. The bill also places a penalty on all lawful residents of the state who have any helpful contact with undocumented residents:
“Alabama’s new law will require schools, businesses, and landlords to verify the immigration status of their students, employees and tenants, respectively,” Caroline May writes. “Police will be allowed to detain people on suspicion of being in the country illegally and it will be unlawful to give a ride to an undocumented immigrant.”
The bill is scheduled to take effect on September 1st, and is already drawing fire from the ACLU and Southern Poverty Law Center, who have vowed to challenge the law in court, saying that the “unconstitutional” law will “perpetuate bigotry” and “set back years of civil rights progress in the state and have devastating economic consequences.” The Roman Catholic, Lutheran and Methodist churches, among others, have all voiced opposition to the new law.
And of course, as Paragould, AR’s Miguel Perez notes, this legislation is not far from the bigotry at its core, and brings the proverbial “Bigotry title” back to the Deep South, again:
Just when we thought no other state could beat Arizona as the champion of hatred, xenophobia and immigrant-bashing legislation, the Deep South reclaimed its title as the all-time champion of discrimination. Imagine how the bigots in Georgia and Alabama must have felt when they saw bigots in Arizona grabbing all the headlines. They had to do something to prove they still can discriminate better than anyone…
With the re-emergence of institutionalized bigotry in the Deep South, a new civil rights movement also is beginning to emerge. And as African-Americans prevailed in the 1960s, today’s immigrants also will overcome this new wave of racism in America.
And may they overcome. For all of our sakes. Que no existan las diferencias entre nosotros…Americanos.