June 5, 2011

Crack down on illegal immigrants

SUN, JUNE 05, 2011 - 4:14 PM

MONTGOMERY – The southern US state of Alabama has passed a sweeping bill to crack down on illegal Caribbean and other immigrants, that both supporters and opponents call the toughest of its kind in the country.

Observers say it goes well beyond a law Arizona passed last year that caused a furore there.

The measure was passed by large margins in the Republican-controlled Alabama Senate and the House of Representatives. Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, a Republican, is expected to sign the bill into law.

The Alabama bill includes a provision similar to one that stirred controversy in Arizona, authorizing state and local police officers to ask about the immigration status of anyone they stop, based on a “reasonable suspicion” the person is an illegal immigrant. Federal courts have suspended most of that Arizona law.

However, Alabama’s bill goes beyond Arizona’s. It bars illegal immigrants from enrolling in any public college after high school. It obliges public schools to determine the immigration status of all students, requiring parents of foreign-born students to report the immigration status of their children.

The bill also requires Alabama’s public schools to publish figures on the number of immigrants — both legal and illegal — who are enrolled and on any costs associated with the education of illegal immigrant children. In addition, the it makes it a crime to knowingly rent housing to an illegal immigrant and bars businesses from taking tax deductions on wages paid to unauthorized immigrants.

“Alabama is now the new number one state for immigration enforcement,” said Kris Kobach, a constitutional lawyer, who is secretary of state in Kansas.

Representative Micky Hammon, a Republican who was a chief sponsor of the bill, described it as “a jobs-creation bill for Americans”.

“We really want to prevent illegal immigrants from coming to Alabama and to prevent those who are here from putting down roots,” he added.

Read full article here.

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