Alabama state Governor Robert Bentley just signed and passed what is considered the harshest immigration law yet. It is due to take effect in September of this year.
A few examples of what has been passed:
- Police can stop anyone and ask for papers based upon “reasonable suspicion”
- Illegal immigrants are blocked from public colleges after high school
- Public schools required to check and publish the immigration status of all students
- It is a crime to rent housing to any illegal immigrants
I will admit that our country is suffering from a horrible immigration problem. But I do not agree with these tactics imposed in Alabama to bring this under control. My first reaction when I saw the news was that Alabama was passing this law for reasons similar to why Arizona’s Governor Brewer passed SB1070. Brewer has lobbyists with direct ties to CCA (Corrections Corp of America), which is a private prison industry. In passing this law in Arizona, there are more legal reasons to arrest and to lock up more people, and in this case – illegals; sentence them to prison, with an end result in more profits for CCA. Private prisons bring in more profit per inmate housed. Thankfully, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking this bill.
After I read up on this law and learned who the actual targets are, it became obvious that private prisons are not behind this bill. From 1998 to 2000, I lived in Birmingham AL, having moved there from a northern state. It was a much different culture than I realized, nearly feeling as though I had gone back in time to the Civil War. That having been said, my opinion here is to point out those people that will be directly affected by this law in a variety of ways.
First of all, the children. The vast majority of illegal children are here only because of their parents. By restricting their ability to attend a public college, we are only hurting ourselves. These are young adults who wish to earn a higher level of education resulting in becoming productive members of society. In doing so, their chances of applying and gaining legal citizenship would increase as well. By denying them an advanced education, then the state is only attributing to the lower level and poverty income numbers.
Hand in hand with this is the requirement for public schools to check and publish the papers of all the children. First of all, is this not some form of violation of rights of those who are legal citizens? Secondly, although this is not stating that the children will be denied an education, the parents, frightened the state may take their children away without having proper papers, will simply keep them home. This results in holding the children back from gaining an education. Again, adding numbers to the lower and poverty level income classes. What does the governor expect the of the younger children? Does he expect to see them all lined up along the highway with their thumbs out trying to hitch a ride back to their original country in order to seek an education?
Indirectly, this law is affecting the legal citizens of this country. It is forcing them to become the immigration police. Landlords must check the citizenship on possible tenants. This should not be their job – but rather left to those who actually work for immigration control. If the landlord does not check the paperwork and ends up renting to an illegal immigrant, then is there a fine and criminal charge imposed upon the landlord? This is not stated, but rather implied.
Realistically, this will simply cause more cash to flow under the table as illegals will accept lower than minimum wage pay. More cash under the table, less taxes paid. Children will grow up uneducated, also being forced to earn pay under the table as an adult. And who’s to say this will not attribute to an increase in crime in order to survive? Life in the United States, even after having passed this law, is better than life from where they came – immigrants will not return to their home country because of this law. If anything, they will move to another state, then to another, and another, forever shifting the problem rather than solving it.
In a side comment here… I do not see our unemployed fighting for some of the jobs that the immigrants have. Why should they? Many prefer sitting at home while receiving welfare checks. Those that truly lost their jobs from legitimate reasons (i.e. our economy thanks to Bush) are excluded from this category – this is directed at those who do leech off the system.
In a nutshell, this law stinks. There must be other ways to help control the illegal immigration problem. Or is it so far out of control that fighting it is now useless? I most certainly do not have the answers, but I do have many questions and concerns – which is my right as a citizen of this country.