Alabama trying to be even more anti-immigrant than Arizona

Alabama may adopt anti-immigration legislation that’s even worse than Arizona’s infamous SB 1070. The bill, which a proponent describes as “an Arizona bill with an Alabama twist,” has been sent to Gov. Robert Bentley, who has until tomorrow to act. Colorlines reports:

Like Arizona’s SB 1070, the bill mandates that police investigate and detain anyone they have “reasonable suspicion” to believe may be undocumented. It also contains provisions that are commonplace among anti-immigrant laws: it spells out explicitly that undocumented immigrants may not access public benefits. It mandates that the state take part in E-Verify, the flawed federal employment verification system. It forbids people from hiring, harboring or giving a ride to undocumented immigrants, and, forbids landlords from renting property to undocumented immigrants.

HB 56 contains a few especially harsh provisions. Under the current bill, undocumented immigrants who enter into any kind of contract would not be able to have the contract enforced because of the immigration status. And in a new twist on the attack on immigrants’ education rights, primary and secondary schools will be required to verify the immigration status of students and parents, who will be required to go to their children’s schools to provide an affidavit. The bill also would bar undocumented immigrant students from enrolling in any of Alabama’s public colleges and universities.

Hmm, restricting students’ access to education, you say? Vivek Malhotra of the ACLU calls that particular provision “quite brazen.” And I call it particularly fucked-up.

The ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center are already studying the bill and planning legal challenges if it becomes law. You’d think that, given that challenges to Arizona and Utah’s anti-immigration laws have been successful, Alabama wouldn’t want to waste time and money defending bigotry. But I suppose reason doesn’t have much to do with this.

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like,, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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