Sour Home Alabama | mexmigration: History and Politics of Mexican Immigration

Following in the footsteps of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Arizona’s SB1070, a federal appeals court judge for the Eleventh Circuit yesterday struck down most of Alabama’s anti-immigrant statute, HB56. Many critics have viewed this law as SB1070 on steroids since it went even further in its application of repressive measures to rid the state of the presence of undocumented immigrant workers.

Among the HB56 provisions challenged in the courts were the following draconian measures (many of which are actually already matters of federal statutes):

Required police with “reasonable suspicion” that a person is an undocumented immigrant, in the midst of any legal stop, detention or arrest, to make a similarly reasonable attempt to determine that person’s legal status.


Prohibited undocumented immigrants from receiving any public benefits at either the state or local level.

Barred undocumented immigrants from attending public colleges or universities.

Required school officials at the high, middle, and elementary public school levels to ascertain whether students are ‘illegal’ immigrants.

Prohibited the transporting or harboring of undocumented immigrants

Prohibited landlords from renting property to undocumented immigrants.

Credit: Kathyrn Kelly

The law resulted in inhumane policies such as a requirement that persons show valid I.D. to activate water and other utility services to their homes. The idea seemed to be that the immigrants would leave if the state made life unbearable for them.

Yesterday’s opinion from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit is a defining victory for pro-immigrant and civil rights movements. Many of the arguments were the same as with the recent successful challenge to the Arizona law in that the focus was on federal preemption, i.e., immigration law is a matter of federal and not state powers. This was another setback for conservative legislators attempting to criminalize immigration.

However, the Eleventh Circuit decision addressed some issues that were not posed by the Arizona law including the aforementioned provisions criminalizing the harboring, transport, or inducement of undocumented immigrants. States cannot add their own penalties or pursue their own prosecutions for matters already covered by federal laws. The Appellate judge also struck down a provision of HB56 that rendered contracts null and void if a person involved was an undocumented immigrant.

FULL ARTICLE HERE: Sour Home Alabama | mexmigration: History and Politics of Mexican Immigration.

About Kurly Tlapoyawa (1010 Articles)

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