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Alabama Governor Signs Tough New Immigration Law

Braden Holly |
June 9, 2011 | 1:32 p.m. PDT

Assistant News Editor

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley signed a tough new

Alabama Governor Bentley.  Photo courtesy of Creative Commons
Alabama Governor Bentley. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons
immigration law Thursday that will require police, in the course of their duties, to check the immigration status of individuals they suspect may be in the country illegally.

The law, now scheduled to go into effect on September 1, is already sparking controversy and opposition from civil rights groups and the Mexican government, according to CNN.

Alabama joins other states such as Arizona and Georgia in taking a tough stance on illegal immigration, but Alabama’s law takes matters a step further.

According to CNN:

“The legislation also makes it a criminal offense to provide transport or housing to an illegal immigrant. The state will have to check the citizenship of students and any business that knowingly employs an illegal immigrant will also be penalized.”

The law may also have far-reaching impact on the education of thousands of children of immigrants living within the state of Alabama.

According to the New York Times:

“Alabama’s bill goes beyond Arizona’s. It bars illegal immigrants from enrolling in any public college after high school. It obliges public schools to determine the immigration status of all students, requiring parents of foreign-born students to report the immigration status of their children.

“The bill requires Alabama’s public schools to publish figures on the number of immigrants — both legal and illegal — who are enrolled and on any costs associated with the education of illegal immigrant children.”

Opponents of the law are already organizing and have plans to try to block implementation of the law.

According to the Los Angeles Times:

“The American Civil Liberties Union declared its intention Thursday to file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of what it called a "draconian" bill, arguing that the law would invite racial profiling and require police to "demand 'papers' from people they stop whom they suspect are not authorized to be in the U.S."

The Alabama House and Senate, both Republican-controlled, passed the bill before Gov. Bentley signed it into law.

In what is already a highly partisan political environment, immigration laws like those in Arizona, Georgia, and now Alabama, are another volatile point of contention, and with President Barack Obama gearing up his reelection campaign and GOP candidates throwing their names in the hat to run against the Democratic incumbent, these laws will likely be a hot-button issue in the next presidential race.


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