Alabama House Passes Revised Immigration Bill

By:  Joe Wolverton, II
04/23/2012
       
Alabama House Passes Revised Immigration Bill

 By a vote of 64-34 the Alabama House of Representatives Thursday passed a slate of alterations to HB 56, the state’s anti-illegal immigration bill.  The original version of the measure passed last year was described as “one of the toughest in the nation.” Unfortunately, it was just that harshness that forced the state legislature to make changes to the language so as to increase the state’s Attorney General’s ability to defend it in court against the various legal challenges that have been filed against it.

 By a vote of 64-34 the Alabama House of Representatives Thursday passed a slate of alterations to HB 56, the state’s anti-illegal immigration bill.

The original version of the measure passed last year was described as “one of the toughest in the nation.” Unfortunately, it was just that harshness that forced the state legislature to make changes to the language so as to increase the state’s Attorney General’s ability to defend it in court against the various legal challenges that have been filed against it.

Changes to the law include carving out an exception allowing pastors to minister to congregants regardless of their immigration status, a clarification of law enforcement guidelines so as to prevent officers from inquiring into a person’s immigration status during routine roadblocks and traffic stops, and a removal of the requirement that proof of citizenship or legal residency be provided upon applying for utility services.
 
Supporters of the earlier iteration of the statute have by and large stood behind the changes, as they recognize the importance of passing a law that will withstand judicial scrutiny. Notwithstanding this realpolitik consideration, however, proponents remain adamant that their state repel any influx of illegal immigrants and that jobs offered by domestic businesses be kept available only to legal residents and citizens.
 
"We want to discourage illegal immigrants from coming to Alabama and prevent those that are here from putting down roots," sponsor Rep. Micky Hammon (R-Decatur, pictured) reportedly said during debate.
 
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