Alabama to Mississippi: It Happened To Us

Effects of Alabama’s Anti-immigrant Law- HB 56 on Communities of Faith, Businesses, and US Citizens Should Serve as Cautionary Tale to Other States FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org MONTGOMERY – On a press call today, religious and business leaders joined local leaders and affected individuals to discuss the variety of ways in which Alabamians have been affected by HB 56, Alabama’s discriminatory anti-immigrant law. Although several major sections of the law have been blocked by the 11th Circuit Court, other provisions like the famous “show me your papers” provision remain in effect. The Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice as well as members from every sector of society are calling on state legislators to repeal the law. Olivia Turner, executive director, ACLU of Alabama, and steering committee member, Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice said, “Alabama’s HB 56 is the most draconian and discriminatory law in the country and it continues to affect Alabamians every-day lives as well as the states’ economy. The law must be repealed. Other states considering an anti-immigrant “show me your papers” law should learn from our mistakes.” Auburn contractor Wayne Kimberly who has been directly affected by HB56, commented “Our legislators are so out of touch with Alabama’s true work force. Heaven forbid the day comes when they have to mow their own yard, only then might they catch a clue about what a mistake HB56 is. Alabamians are not going to fill the vacuum left in our work place for labor intensive jobs. That was proven by Governor Bentley’s Work Alabama program. This bill just underlines the stigma of Alabama being the number one state in the Union for intolerance and racial profiling – they are not just proving that here in the United States but to the entire world.” Despite extensive coverage of the political, economic and social consequences of Alabama’s HB 56, several states continue considering legislation that will lead them down this dangerous path. Last Wednesday, members of the Mississippi House of Representatives passed their own anti-immigrant “papers please” law – House Bill 488. Pastor Ron Higey, Birmingham International Church, added “From a Christian faith perspective I cannot comfortably explain why we would treat others this way – harshly and punitively. As Christians – as people of faith, we are called to a higher standard of how we live with and treat others. For these reasons I call on upon Christians and people of faith to stand against this law and call their legislators and voice their objections and concerns.” Economists and business leaders have noted that Alabama’s HB 56 is costing the state billions of dollars a year. The human toll however, is unquantifiable. Laws like HB 56 affect not only the immigrant community but the society as whole. Carmen V

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