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Latino Daily News

Thursday November 10, 2011

Utilities Turned Off in Homes of Alabama’s Undocumented Immigrants

Utilities Turned Off in Homes of Alabama’s Undocumented Immigrants

Photo: Utilities Turned Off in Homes of Alabama's Undocumented Immigrants

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A utilities provider in Alabama has begun turning off water, electric, and gas services to homes that cannot confirm they are legal residents of the United States.

With winter and cold weather fast approaching, a number of homes in Alabama are without heat, water, and electricity, after Utilities Decatur began turning off their service to undocumented immigrants.

Alabama recently passed an immigration legislation barring businesses from providing goods or services to those not legally in the country. If businesses fail to comply they face fines and possible loss of their business licenses.

‘We did not [initially] document or confirm whether or not they were citizens or aliens here legally,’ Stephen Pirkle, business manager and chief financial officer of Decatur Utilities told the Decatur Daily. ‘Because of the new law, we are now going through the process to confirm that they are either a citizen or an alien here legally. If not, we will deny them service.’

Just like Arizona’s SB 1070, the ultra-controversial immigration law signed in 2010, Alabama passed legislation known as HB 56 much to the distaste of the federal government and immigrant rights advocates.

The federal government has long maintained that immigration enforcement is their domain, and does not rest in the hands of state, and local officials.

And while the southern state does not experience the extreme cold weather that many others do, a big dip in temperature has been known to happen, leaving many worried about the health and safety of those who will be without heat, water, and gas service this winter.