Photo: Alabama's Anti-Immigration Law Maybe Amended
A year after approving the toughest state anti-immigration legislation in the country, Alabama lawmakers want to revise the law to make it easier to comply with and enforce. But their efforts have rekindled the same emotional fight that was so contentious in the first place.
The ambitious law touches many parts of everyday life in Alabama. It affects police, businesses, schools and churches and those they serve. Many parts of the law are on hold, but most accounts are that it has had an immediate and profound impact: Immigrants and many in their communities have either fled or gone into hiding.
“Word gets out very fast,” says one supporter, Elois Zeanah of Tuscaloosa, the president of the Alabama Federation of Republican Women. “That was the intent of the law. The reason why the immigration law was passed was to reduce illegal immigration through attrition.”
But the Republican architects of the law are already proposing changes.
“Make no mistake; no changes have been suggested that weaken the law,” House Minority Leader Micky Hammon wrote in an email to supporters last week. “Instead, they simply aim to make it even more workable for local governments, more enforceable for state and local police, and less burdensome for law-abiding citizens and businesses.”
The changes are being discussed while nerves are still raw from last year’s fight and while last year’s law is under a cloud of legal uncertainty. There is no guarantee that changes will leave the law’s supporters or detractors happy.