Monday, November 21, 2011

Alabama Legislature Considers Revamping Harsh Illegal Immigration Law; Sounds Like They Didn’t Know What They Were Doing in the First Place

Is Ignorance of the Law an Excuse for an Ignorant Law? It is in Alabama

Alabama has enacted a very harsh law aimed to combating illegal immigration.  The law essentially turns businesses and teachers and even librarians into border patrol officers, and allows law enforcement to demand “papers” from anyone with a suspicious look or accent.  The state has  reasonable people questioning the draconian nature of the law, which has resulted in thousands of children being taken out of public schools for fear of adverse action by law enforcement.

Now the state may be having second thoughts, as it has become the target of severe criticism and outright derision.

An increasing number of state lawmakers say they are willing to consider critical changes to Alabama’s sweeping anti-immigration law, part of which appears to make proof of citizenship or legal residency a requirement even for mundane activities like garbage pickup, dog licenses and flu shots at county health departments.

Now it also turns out that the supporters of the law and those who actually enacted the law really had no idea of what they were doing.

As they learn more about the breadth of the law, which was already described as the most far-reaching of the state-level immigration laws when it went into effect on Sept. 29, some political leaders have gone beyond acknowledging a general need for “tweaks” to openly discussing specific changes, which in some cases are as substantial as getting rid of certain provisions in their entirety.

That’s right, Conservative legislators in Alabama were ignorant of what they were doing.  Wow, how unlikely is that?  Actually for anyone who has followed Conservative politicians the answer is “not much”.  Here is what they did not to just illegal immigrants, but to all of their citizens.

“One afternoon, we sat down and we had the county directory and we went through and made a list of every county department that interfaces directly with citizens,” said Julian Butler, the attorney for Madison County, which includes the City of Huntsville.

Some already required some form of identification, Mr. Butler said, but many did not. He and his colleagues are still discussing whether people can rent a pavilion at a county park, enroll children in a Little League team or sign up for a membership at the county swimming pool without first proving that they are citizens or legal residents. Paying property taxes might require a trip to the courthouse with documentation. Architects, nurses, hair stylists, plumbers, real estate agents and a host of other professions will have to demonstrate their legal status every time their licenses are renewed.

Nice going Alabama Conservatives, that will certainly help your state’s economy and society.

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