Important victory against Alabama’s anti-immigrant law

Southern Poverty Law Center

 

We’ve just won an important victory against Alabama’s racist anti-immigrant law.

The law undermined our most fundamental ideals as a nation. It was forged amid a legislative debate rife with incendiary rhetoric and bigotry aimed at a tiny sliver of the state’s population – Latino immigrants.

The New York Times called Alabama’s law “cruel, destructive and embarrassing” – the “worst in the nation.”

We sued the state over this unconstitutional law, known as HB 56, and following a series of court victories, we’ve announced a final settlement that effectively guts it.

  • No longer will schools require children to verify their parents’ immigration status.
  • No longer will the state of Alabama authorize the detention of someone during a traffic stop for the purpose of checking their status.
  • No longer will acts of kindness toward immigrants, such as giving someone a ride to the hospital, be considered a crime.

Because of our suit, the most egregious provisions of the law have been permanently blocked.

When this law was enacted in 2011, it unleashed a kind of vigilantism, leading some Alabamians to believe they could cheat, harass and intimidate Latinos with impunity. We saw families with children lose their water service … day laborers cheated out of their wages … sick children turned away from medical clinics.

Many Latinos — regardless of their immigration status — chose to flee the state rather than face the racial profiling promoted by HB 56. Farmers lost millions while crops rotted in the fields.

This victory will have a major impact on many lives — not just immigrants, but legal residents and U.S. citizens who could be suspected of being unauthorized simply because they are Latino.

We remain committed to pursuing comprehensive immigration reform in Congress so that no other state will be tempted to pass such a mean-spirited law again. And we continue to work in the courts to uphold the rights of immigrants facing injustice.

Thank you for your dedication to justice. It’s your support that makes victories like this possible.

Sincerely,

Morris Dees
Founder, Southern Poverty Law Center