New Alabama Anti-Immigrant Law Condemned by ACLU as a "Step Backward"

Legislature’s Revision Leaves Worst Aspects of Draconian Law Intact FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: (212) 549-2666; MONTGOMERY, AL – Alabama lawmakers today approved a slightly revised version to its notorious anti-immigration law, which the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama said did nothing to address the many flaws in the measure. The bill was passed by both houses of the Alabama legislature and will now go to Governor Robert Bentley for signature. “Alabama took a step backward in approving this ill-conceived measure,” said Olivia Turner, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama. “Lawmakers were deaf to the concerns of many residents, business owners and police who realize this law is a bad idea. Alabama will continue to pay a severe price for a law that is almost impossible to enforce properly and blatantly unconstitutional.” Instead of meaningful reforms, Turner said, the bill: • Maintains the requirement from the original bill, HB56, that schools check the citizenship status of their students. • Continues to require police to detain and arrest people based only on a reasonable suspicion that they are undocumented immigrants. Turner said that would further tax overcrowded jails and strain the resources of law enforcement agencies already strapped for funds. • Undermines public safety by failing to provide adequate protection for crime victims after they cooperate with law enforcement, thereby discouraging them from reporting crime for fear of being questioned about their immigration status. • Continues to ban landlords from renting to undocumented immigrants. • Creates a “Scarlet Letter” provision that would require the state Department of Homeland Security to publish on its website the names and locations of undocumented immigrants who have appeared in state courts. “The Alabama Legislature has done virtually nothing to solve the civil rights disaster they created,” said Cecillia Wang, director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. “Two federal courts have already blocked key provisions of the law from going into effect, because they violate the U.S. Constitution.