As expected, the illegal amnesty lobby has been raging about the bill for some time and has threatened to sue if Alabama's governor signs the bill. He is likely to do so, and Alabama can expect a lengthy legal battle defending the bill.
What The Bill Does
Sponsored by Sen. Scott Beason (picture, above) and Rep. Mickey Hammon, HB 56 responds to the rising cost of illegals in Alabama. The Federation for American Immigration Reform says illegals cost Alabama $298 million. Alabamians are tired of paying this burdensome expense. Thus did the legislature pass HB 56, which substantially toughens life for illegals and places strict requirements on state officials and employers to help the state enforce federal immigration law. It leaves virtually no stone unturned.
The bill requires the state’s attorney general to negotiate a memorandum of understanding about immigration law between Alabama and the Justice or Homeland Security departments, and voters must prove they are citizens before casting ballots. As well, Alabama will not tolerate those ubiquitous "sanctuary" laws, passed by America-hating leftists, that turn entire cities in zones where illegals are safe. Thus does the bill forbid local governments and officials from refusing to enforce federal or state immigration laws.
Attacking the massive cost of illegals, the bill stops illegals from receiving public welfare and education benefits. Employers must verify the eligibility of employees to work. Importantly, the bill punishes those who harbor or transport illegals. The bill's most controversial provision, naturally, mirrors the codicil that invited a leftist federal judge to invalidate a democratically-passed bill in Arizona. Once the governor signs, Alabama police will be required to check the immigration of status of anyone arrested for an offense that requires bail. Police must detain anyone whose immigration status they doubt.
Alabama Joins Others States
So Alabama joins the nationwide crackdown on illegals. Yet it and Arizona are hardly the only states reacting to the Obama Administration's head-in-the-sand posture on immigration, which entails telling the lie that the border is secure. Obama and his mistress of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, have retailed that falsehood repeatedly in recent weeks, with Mr. Obama traveling to the border with Mexico to do so.
Arizona is fighting illegal immigration through SB 1070 (The Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act), and recently passed another bill rejecting the matricula consular card, which Mexican consulates issue to illegals, as valid identification. Georgia, like Alabama, is cracking down on employers and has increased the immigration enforcement power of the state. In Kansas, Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill requiring voters to show a photo identification card before casting a ballot.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, "In the first quarter of 2011, state legislators in the 50 states and Puerto Rico introduced 1,538 bills and resolutions relating to immigrants and refugees. This number surpasses the first quarter of 2010, when 1,180 bills were introduced."
The bills introduced run the gamut from those requiring photo Ids to vote, or the restriction of public benefits to illegals, to others that toughen law enforcement and require cops to check the immigration status of arrestees. Fifty bills across 21 states attack illegal-alien voting. Unbelievably, a few states will permit non-citizens to vote.
These bills generally require proof of citizenship and/or photo identification to register to vote and/or vote at the polling place and require proof of citizenship by candidates for public office. Some bills enable resident non-citizens to vote in municipal elections, make it a state crime for non-citizens to vote, and require the state agency to investigate the citizenship status of registered voters and revoke the voter registration of non-citizens.
Demonstrating the importance of secure identification, NCSL reports, legislators in 41 states introduced 171 bills addressing identification, particularly that used to obtain driver's licenses. As well, lawmakers in 36 states introduced 109 bills dealing with public benefits. Nearly 270 bills in 42 states address law enforcement.
Many of these bills address determination of lawful status upon a lawful stop or arrest, and authorizes immigration law enforcement responsibilities for state and local law enforcement agencies and court proceedings, including release and deportation requirements. Several bills include cooperative agreements between local law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, sexual offender registration requirements, and specification of felonies in which illegal immigrants are involved.
Many states are deliberating omnibus bills that attack the entire constellation of issues they face with unfettered illegal immigration. For instance, NCSL reports, "Fifty-one bills were introduced in 30 state legislatures: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming."
These omnibus bills include several topics in one bill, such as immigration law enforcement, employment verification, and verification of lawful status for public benefits.
Two omnibus bills were enacted in Utah (HB 116 and HB 497) that seek to balance immigration enforcement with facilitating a legal immigrant workforce. Many omnibus immigration bills introduced in 2011 contain law enforcement provisions similar to Arizona’s SB 1070, such as requiring officers to verify immigration status during a lawful stop, requiring immigrants to carry alien registration documents, and adding state penalties for harboring, transporting and/or smuggling illegal immigrants. Other omnibus bills follow examples set in previous years, addressing verification of legal status for public benefits and driver’s licenses, use of E-Verify by public or private employers, and immigration law enforcement provisions such as authorizing agreements with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Two bills introduced in Massachusetts, SB 1560 and SB 1603, require studies to be completed on the cost of implementing each bill.
ACLU Plans To Sue
Unsurprisingly, the leftist American Civil Liberties Union will sue, The New York Times reports, as leftists always do when they lose a vote in democratically-elected legislature. An ACLU illegal-alien lobbyist, Cecilia Wang, pulled the fire alarm on civil rights. “This bill invites discrimination into every aspect of the lives of people in Alabama,” she whined to Times. The bill, said she, “outrageous and blatantly unconstitutional.”
The state ACLU's Jared Shepherd, naturally, claimed HB 56 bill will invite racial profiling:
It invites profiling on the basis of race, ethnicity, and language. Subjecting people to harassment, investigation and arrest because they are perceived to be foreign is contrary to who we are as Americans.
Threatened Wang, “We will take action if the governor signs it.”
The latter is defending its law all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.