"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 …
"The state has been unable to enforce a new law designed to increase the deportations of illegal immigrants from the Texas prison system amid concerns that federal immigration officials are unprepared to handle the anticipated influx of convicted criminals, state officials said.
Under the new law, which was scheduled to take effect Sept. 1, state prisoners who are granted parole and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials must either be deported or leave the country voluntarily – or risk being returned to state custody to serve out the remainder of their sentences.
The law was crafted to address a vexing problem identified by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, which reported granting parole to some illegal immigrants and turning them over to ICE – only to later learn that they were not removed from the country, said state Rep. Jerry Madden, R-Plano.
Madden, chairman of the House Corrections Committee, said the law also aims to save taxpayers millions of dollars by paroling primarily 'low-risk, nonviolent' prisoners who are in the country illegally after they become eligible for parole." Read more …
"WASHINGTON (AP) — The government has not offered to help Alabama put in place a strict immigration law that the Obama administration is challenging in court, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Wednesday.
The administration has sued to block the law, considered the toughest state immigration controls in the country.
'We have been working with the Department of Justice in its challenge to that law,' Napolitano told the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives.
A federal appeals court in Atlanta, Georgia, temporarily blocked a part of the law this month that required public schools to check the immigration status of students. The court did not bar law enforcement officials from detaining people suspected of being in the country illegally.
A final ruling in the case is not expected for several months.
Alabama Republicans have argued that the law, passed this year by the Republican-controlled Legislature and signed by Gov. Robert Bentley, was necessary to protect the jobs of legal residents." Read more …
"AUSTIN — If you believe the pundits, Gov. Rick Perry didn’t win this week’s Republican presidential debate but did much better than in previous contests. Yet, given his low standing in the polls, whether Perry can rebound and win his party’s nomination is, well, debatable.
But you can count on this: Dozens of controversial anti-illegal immigration bills should be filed when the Texas Legislature is back in session in 2013. Buoyed by the attention the issue has received in almost every presidential debate — and Perry fired the first shot Tuesday night — if re-elected next year, some of the most conservative Republican lawmakers intend to re-introduce bills killed in recent sessions." Read more …
Ruben Navarrette writes:
"This is how bad it is in Alabama.
A Mexican consulate official in Washington monitoring the fallout from the state's new immigration law told me that, as school administrators were trying to determine the legal status of students, some principals were going into elementary school classes and telling kids: "Raise your hand if you weren't born in the U.S." Imagine a 6-year-old unsure of whether to raise his hand because he's afraid his parents might get deported.
What is happening to my country? I was born here, as were my parents and three of my grandparents. Yet, sometimes, I hardly recognize the place.
This is one of those times. As they shape their own immigration policies, the states are in a race to the bottom. Rather than challenge one another to create jobs or improve the schools, they're competing to see which one can be the cruelest to illegal immigrants." Read more …
In Alabama, lawful immigrants, U.S. citizen Latinos and agricultural businesses are suffering as a result of the state's new law targeting undocumented immigrants.
"Alabama’s new anti-immigrant law, the nation’s harshest, went into effect last month (a few provisions have been temporarily blocked in federal court), and it is already reaping a bitter harvest of dislocation and fear. Hispanic homes are emptying, businesses are closing, employers are wondering where their workers have gone. Parents who have not yet figured out where to go are lying low and keeping children home from school."
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