On Wednesday, federal judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn issued an opinion striking down parts of Alabama’s newly-enacted anti-immigrant law HB 56, which has been dubbed “SB 1070 on steroids”. The opinion blocked several of the law’s provisions, including one that would have made it a crime for undocumented immigrants to work, a provision that would have made it illegal to house or give a ride to an undocumented immigrant, and a provision that would have prevented lawfully present refugees and asylees as well as undocumented students from enrolling in universities.
However, Blackburn’s ruling rejected the Department of Justice’s challenge to other pieces of HB 56, by upholding a provision of the law requiring K-12 public schools to determine and track the immigration status of public school students, and to report the number of undocumented students in their district to the state.
Blackburn also upheld a portion of the law that makes any business contract held by an undocumented immigrant un-enforceable, and makes it a felony offense for undocumented immigrants to apply for a business license, driver’s license, or license plates. And — this is huge — like Arizona, Alabama law enforcement officers will have the unprecedented power to act as immigration agents and question and detain anyone they “suspect” may be an undocumented immigrant (aka legalized racial profiling).
Advocates have been fiercely protesting since HB56 was first proposed, and The DOJ filed an appeal to Blackburn’s ruling today. DOJ also requested an injunction to halt the enforcement of HB 56, both on the basis that immigration law is a federal matter that cannot be determined by states.
As it stands, HB 56 is even more harsh and radical than SB 1070, and could create a crisis worse than seen in Arizona last year. Reportedly, Latino and immigrant families are already packing up and leaving the state, which is not only devastating for communities, but bad for business as well.
HB 56 is outright intimidation and harassment against immigrant families and people of color — against educating their children, contributing to the local economy, or even driving and traveling without fear of detention. HB 56 could also encourage even more copycat laws from anti-immigrant politicians trying to get votes, as well as normalizes racial profiling and furthers a culture of hate against immigrants. This is Fuckery and Foolery of the highest order. Is that what we want America to stand for?
source: WHNT 19, Think Progress.org