Alabama’s New Immigration Law Toughest in U.S.

As predicted, Arizona’s fiery immigration policies are having a chain reaction effect on other states.  Several states have attempted to institute laws that are similar to Arizona’s controversial SB 1070 law.  The most recent state to join the fray is Alabama, which passed a tough immigration law just a few weeks ago.

Now, we here at LegalMatch have blogged extensively about Arizona’s policies, which touch upon several aspects of immigration including birthright citizenship and employer punishments.  However, Alabama’s law contains many unique restrictions on illegal immigrants that are not included in any other state policies.  The law is poised to go into effect this September and contains the following provisions:

  • All business must check the legal immigration status of all workers using the E-Verify system
  • Schools will be required to find out if all students are in the country legally (data is to be used for the purpose of “statistical analysis” rather than preventing students from enrolling)
  • Permits police to arrest persons suspected of being an illegal alien if stopped for a different reason
  • Makes it a crime for persons to knowingly give rides to illegal immigrants
  • Makes it a crime for a landlord to knowingly rent property to an illegal immigrant
  • Makes all contracts entered into by an illegal immigrant unenforceable

Now that’s an extensive list.  The law also contains other provisions which have not been elaborated upon, including a restriction on voting.

Hands down, the most controversial aspects of the new law are the requirements regarding schools and landowners.  Many feel that the new regulations will allow for more extensive criminal profiling in areas that have traditionally been less vigilant.

Yet, as drastic as it is, Alabama’s new baby is getting much less attention compared to Arizona’s law.  Some writers are surprised at the lack of outrage towards the new law, given its unprecedented reach and scope.  To me there are several reasons why many people don’t know (or care) about the Yellowhammer State’s immigration developments.

For one, the illegal immigrant population in Alabama is not as pronounced as in other states like California or Arizona.  It is estimated to be at about 120,000 people.  While this indicates a nearly 5x increase over the last decade, this is still a very minimal figure comparatively speaking.  Also, the state of Alabama is not really well-known for being reliant upon immigrant work like Arizona is.  So the question of regulating illegal immigrants is somewhat more separate from the economic aspects of Alabamian life.

But I think that what’s really happening is this- we are simply getting used to hearing about the introduction of doomsday-like illegal immigration policies all over the nation.  Most readers are probably saying to themselves, “Oh, another one?”

Some legal experts feel that the law will be able to withstand legal challenges which are sure to be mounted against it.  The main justification is that Alabama has a legitimate state interest in enforcing such strict measures.  And then there’s the argument that illegal immigrants don’t have any citizens rights because they are not part of “The People” as defined in the Constitution.

Personally I agree that the immigration situation is a problem. And I agree with certain measures in the Alabama law, especially the one that requires employers to check and register workers with E-Verify.

However, I do feel that Alabama could accomplish its aims using much less restrictive means.  In particular, the requirements for schools, landlords, and contract rights are questionable in my opinion.  Rather than making national immigration policies more efficient, these requirements seem to exist only for the purpose of frustrating the immigrant population.

In fact, the first thing I thought about when I learned about property restrictions on illegal immigrants in Alabama was America’s immigrant policies during World War II.  During that time in the 1940’s, Japanese-Americans were forbidden from owning real estate, and many Japanese-American citizens lost a significant amount of property due to internment policies.

Granted, that was a time of war and such extreme policies were enforced out of military necessity.  But in this regard, Alabama’s latest law does seem to send the message:  America is at war.  Ok, maybe it’s not an all out military war, but this is definitely a conflict, and certainly one involving boundaries and territory.  For many, illegal immigration is a serious matter that is nearly tantamount to an act of war.

We’ll have yet to see if the times really are so dire as to require these restrictive measures against illegal aliens.  I project that some of the Alabama provisions will stand (namely, the E-Verify requirements) while many of the other ones will be required to stand down.

6 Responses to “Alabama’s New Immigration Law Toughest in U.S.”

  1. 1 Nathan

    Obviuosly you do not live in Alabama, so opppinions or facts you have are misleading. I have been here all my life all around the state and I have seen hundreds or even thousands immigrants take or restrict work from hard workin americans in factories, construction, and even food industries. Also the burden it puts on public servants that work in all branches of the state.

  2. 2 VSA9886

    You need to raise your head above the Illinois weeds and take a good look around.

    First of all you may want to consider how much the rise in crime has come to the U.S. with the influx of the illegals.

    Secondly: Look at how much the illegals are taking out of the mouths of us who are here legally.

    Third: Look at how much the illegals cost us who worked for, and paid into, the fund to assist the elderly and poor.

    Fourth: Look at how filthy most of the illegal field workers are; i.e., they oftentimes urinate and/or defecate in, around, and, yes, sometimes on, the produce they are handling.

    Fifth: Perhaps your memory is failing and you have forgotten how many people had become ill and died, in the past. McDonalds still do not use tomatoes; and the list goes on. Why? Simple. Most always, as one example, the illegals never wash their hands when they have had to relieve themselves.

    Sixth: Least we not forget the number of school age children who are helping their parents, etc, in the fields which violates any number of State, Federal and International laws that come to mind.

    Seventh: Most all the money these illegals make is not, I repeat, “IS NOT” spent here in the U.S. It is sent back to their family back to their home country.

    Eight: Have you even bothered to look into and see the number of our elected officials who employ, and pay under the table, these illegals. I have and these elected officials are the ones who are screaming the loudest. Check out and see how many of the elected officials, and the judiciary are squawking; then find out how many of them have farms and employ illegals; most especially on the Western Slope of Colorado and in Utah.

    Lastly: Though I do enjoy most of your articles, it is times like this when you start typing and, figuratively, shoot your mouth off when you have absolutely no clue what is “REALLY” going on in the States you are referring too.

    The above said, This is the U.S.Of A. and I’ll fight to the death for your right to do so whether I believe in what you say or not; provided, of course, you are not an illegal.

  3. 3 Jay R.

    Thank you for your readership and your responses, they are very much appreciated. Actually, I do agree that illegal immigration affects opportunities for legitimate citizens, and of course I am aware of the negative effects, as they affect me also. In my opinion, great responsibility also lies in the hands of employers, which is why I agree with the provisions requiring the E-Verify check.

    However, to clarify, I am questioning why the illegal immigration concern in Alabama has not been a central point of discussion as it has been with other states, given how serious it is. My point is that the public portrayal of the state of Alabama doesn’t focus as much on illegal immigration, compared to the amount of discussion surrounding other states. The way the public perceives the situation could be a reason why illegal immigration in Alabama hasn’t gotten much media exposure, comparatively speaking. Hope that helps.

  4. 4 Matt B

    As I write this I am in a self turmoil about Alabama’s new law. I can only think of how my own family came to America in the early 1700s, aboard a ship that would in modern day be considered, run by a coyote. We came here for a better and more prosperous life. To be free of a tyrannical government that wanted to control our way of life. I am a white, red blooded American, a republican and a construction worker. I love my country, I support my country, but I don’t see a difference in my own families movement to this beautiful land. I guess I should only be grateful that there were no such thing as border patrol or coast-guard in 18th century Americas.

  5. 5 Jay R.

    @Matt B: Thank you for your input, that is a somewhat unique perspective that you hold. I’m sure the world was much, much different back then than it is now, but you do have a valid point- immigration has always been a central theme for this country.

  6. 6 Matt B

    Is Alabamas new law backed by racism? It is impossible to know the hearts of our law makers, and only God should judge someones heart. That said, I refuse to work in Alabama for the same wages as an illegal immigrant, and definatley not after taxes. I personally know three illegal aliens in Alabama, and would vouch for not only their honesty and work ethic, but also for their ability to aid our nation in becoming a place where the true American dream can be found. If the USA or the state of Alabama looses the man power and and or “residency” of these men and their families, we are only taking a backward step toward becoming the country that we all strive to live in. This said, I understand the simplicity of my opinion, and the severity of the situation, and only wish that there were a way to help. I say, simply, exile only those that are dangerous, continue to pursue justic against our citizen criminals, and allow a regulated, monitored group of foreigners to apply for citizenship as we are doing. Maybe with such a Long wait time?

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