al.com: Alabama immigration law has denied basic human rights, report says

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — Alabama’s immigration law has led to illegal immigrants around the state having their basic rights denied and should be repealed, a human rights group contends in a report being issued today.

“The initial human impact has been devastating, though the full consequences remain unknown,” stated the report, “No Way To Live: Alabama’s Immigrant Law,” issued by Human Rights Watch.

“A group of people have found themselves unable to live the lives they had lived for many years. Some were barred from access to basic services like water, and many more were told they could not live in homes they own,” according to the report. Read More …

NYT Opinion : On the Rise in Alabama

Alabama’s ruling class has dug in against the storm it caused with the nation’s most oppressive immigration law. Some of the law’s provisions have been blocked in federal court; others won’t take effect until next year. But many Alabamans aren’t waiting for things to get worse or for the uncertain possibility of judicial relief or legislative retreat. They are moving to protect themselves, and summoning the tactics of a civil rights struggle now half a century old.

The law was written to deny immigrants without papers the ability to work or travel, to own or rent a home, to enter contracts of any kind. Fear is causing an exodus as Latinos abandon homes and jobs and crops in the fields. Utilities are preparing to shut off water, power and heat to customers who cannot show the right papers.  Read more …

Think Progress: Apple Crops In Washington At Risk Because Of Other States’ Extreme Immigration Laws

“Washington apple growers could have had one of the best apple harvests in the state’s history — if not for the lack of workers. Orchard owners say a federal immigration crackdown and extreme anti-immigrant laws in states like Alabama and Arizona have scared off many of their workers.

Some farmers have tried to hire domestic workers. Orchards have “pickers wanted” signs, and growers have asked neighbors for extra workers. But their efforts have been unsuccessful to replace the immigrant farm workers they typically hire. So just like farmers inAlabama and Georgia, their crops will go to waste without without the experienced workers to pick the apples by hand:” Read more …

Washington Post Editorial: How Alabama’s immigration law is crippling its farms

"FARMERS IN ALABAMA are in revolt against the state’s over-the-top immigration law, which is designed to hound illegal immigrants so that they move elsewhere. As it happens, a substantial portion of farm workers there, as in other states, are undocumented. In the farmers’ view, the law is depriving them of steady, experienced labor — and threatening to deal a lethal blow to crops throughout the state.

The uproar has exposed political fault lines within the Republican Party, whose vows of support for business have run headlong into its crusade to drive away illegal immigrants, on whom agribusiness relies. It’s also laying bare the nation’s hypocrisy over unskilled immigrants, whose legal entry into the country is blocked in most cases even though their labor remains much in demand." Read more…

 

Gotham Gazette: Bill Curtails City Role in Deportations

"With states such as Arizona and Alabama passing immigration laws that go far beyond those of the federal government, the New York City Council weighed in on the issue yesterday and took a decidedly different stand.

By an overwhelming majority, the council passed a bill sponsored by Melissa Mark-Viveritoof Manhattan that would end the Department of Correction's policy of cooperating with federal efforts to deport undocumented immigrants. The bill, said by supporters to be the first of its kind in the country, will end two decades of cooperation between the city jail system and federal immigration authorities, now called Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

This bill, Intro 656, Mark-Viverito said shortly before its passage, 'sends a strong message we will no longer be complicit in this country's broken immigration system.'

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn cited another message as well. 'When signed by the mayor,' she said, 'the entire government of New York will send a message the city of New York is supportive of, friendly to and welcoming to immigrants.'"  Read more.

 

Huffington Post Opinion: Different State, Same Hate

Department of Justice steps in to block South Carolina's anti-immigrant law

Elena Lacayo of the NCLR writes: "On Monday, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit against South Carolina to block the implementation of SB 20, a divisive and dangerous anti-immigrant law signed by Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC) earlier this year. If SB 20 does take effect on Jan. 1, 2012, the law will create a new $1.3 million immigration enforcement unit for South Carolina and provide local law enforcement with overly broad authority to investigate residents' immigration statuses. As NCLR (National Council of La Raza) has repeatedly pointed out in the past, when other states attempted to pass similar bills, these anti-immigrant laws not only promote racial profiling and discrimination, but also violate the Constitution."  Read more …

 

Chippewa Herald Opinion: Our economy relies on immigrants

Immigrants bring “new ideas, new perspectives and new talent to our workforce. To reverse the decades-long trend of economic decline in this city, we need to think globally.”

Those are the comments of Dayton, Ohio Mayor Gary Leitzell explaining why his city has adopted a plan encouraging immigrants to come to the city to help pull it out of its economic tailspin.

Dayton has lost thousands of jobs and 15 percent of its population. It hopes immigrant entrepreneurs will help rebuild and grow the city’s small business and restore the city’s neighborhoods.

Dayton’s viewpoint on immigration is countered by states like Alabama, where a new law allows police to detain indefinitely anyone suspected of being in the state illegally and requires schools to check the status of new students.  Read more …

 

Huffington Post Opinion: Hands of Alabama, Working, Worrying, Waiting

"BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – How many undocumented immigrants in Alabama would meet the criteria set by new federal regulations to be 'low priorities' for deportation if they were to be detained?

Every story we hear, every family drama, seems to describe cases that would fall under these regulations, which establish that immigration agents should prioritize the deportation of those who pose a real threat to public safety, not mothers and fathers who came to this country to devote themselves to work in various industries and create a better future for their families.

Despite this, Alabama law HB 56–even after a court ordered the state to temporarily stop enforcing parts of the law–keeps the immigrant community here in a state of anxiety. Even with the supposed prioritization of deportations, the community confronts the constant fear of being detained and deported under a law that the Obama Administration's own Department of Justice is trying to get ruled unconstitutional. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told the House Judiciary Committee yesterday that her Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is not collaborating with Alabama's authorities to implement the law, and is instead cooperating with the Department of Justice in its lawsuit to block it. How ironic."  Read more …

 

CNN: U.S. sues South Carolina over immigration law

CNN) – Justice Department officials pressed their campaign against an immigration law in South Carolina on Monday, saying the measure passed there this summer unconstitutionally pre-empts federal authority.

South Carolina's law also could lead to the harassment and detention of authorized visitors, immigrants and citizens, federal officials argue in court documents.

The law would 'undermine federal law and invade federal authority by imposing punitive sanctions for conduct that falls outside of the state's police powers and that Congress affirmatively decided should not be subject to such sanctions. And it will interfere with and undermine the federal government's control over relations with foreign governments,' officials argue, referring to the state trying to require the carrying of documents to prove residency.

The complaint filed in federal court in South Carolina follows similar lawsuits in Arizona and Alabama.  Read more …

 

Fox News Latino: Alabama Immigration Battle Mirrors Civil Rights Era

"The nation's strictest immigration law has resurrected ugly images from Alabama's days as the battleground state for civil rights.

Sharing a border with Mexico and being flooded with boycotts does not make Arizona the poster state for the challenges of immigration laws in the United States. The four states that followed suit with their own immigration law enforcement aren't either.

No, the case that's likely to be the first sorted out by the U.S. Supreme Court comes from the Deep South state of Alabama, and Alabama's jump to the forefront says as much about the country's evolving demographics as it does the nation's collective memory of the state's sometimes violent path to desegregation.

 

With the failure of Congress in recent years to pass comprehensive federal immigration legislation, Arizona, Georgia, Utah, South Carolina and Indiana have passed their own. But supporters and opponents alike agree none contained provisions as strict as those passed in Alabama, among them one that required schools to check students' immigration status. That provision, which has been temporarily blocked, would allow the Supreme Court to decide if a kindergarten to high school education must be provided to undocumented immigrants.

Its stature as the strictest in the U.S., along with the inevitable comparisons of today's Hispanics with African-Americans of the 1950s and `60s, makes it a near certainty the law will be a test case for the high court." Read more …