Given the nation’s current socio-economic situation, everyone has a heightened interest in immigration. Regardless of which side of the fence you sit on when it comes to immigration there is no refuting that this might just be the most spirited debate in the history of our great nation.
And nowhere else in the country has the immigration debate seen more fervor than in Alabama; recently approved and upheld legislation has given Alabama the toughest illegal immigration law in the country.
With this new law:
- Immigration status can be checked during routine traffic stops
- Contracts entered into by illegal immigrants are consider null and void
- Immigration status must be checked and verified by school administrators
Yet the teeth of this new legislation has bitten more than just illegal immigrations. It’s affected a number of other groups in the state of Alabama that are seemingly peripheral damage.
Six groups hit hardest by Alabama’s HB 56 Immigration Law
- Legal Immigrants – The new legislation increases the rights of government agencies in the probing of ones immigration status. While this may help catch some illegal immigrants, it does so at the inconvenience and potential embarrassment of those immigrants in “good standing.”
- Farmers – Farming operations, especially small family-owned operations, have already reported a loss of workers as a result of the legislation. Farmhand jobs are notoriously physical and demanding with low paying wages; the type of work that most able-body American’s simply don’t want to do. Without access to labor, many farmers will have a tough time staying afloat since the likelihood of replacing illegal workers with legal workers at similar wages will be difficult, if not impossible.
- School Districts – Imagine walking into your classroom on a Monday morning and half your class is missing. Hispanic students are already beginning a mass exodus from Alabama public schools as their parents are pulling them for fear of deportation. Unfortunately for the entire school community, the loss of students (legal or illegal) will result in a loss of state, government funding leading to fewer resources for all.
- Small Businesses – Similar to farm owners, small businesses are also feeling the pain of this legislation. Many small businesses employ immigrants to perform cost sensitive janitorial, warehousing or assembly jobs. Jobs that are important and relevant, but that are often too low paying or unsavory for the typical worker.
- Communities – It’s one thing to lend someone a stick of butter or some milk, but scared by the chance of deportation, some illegal immigrants are calling on their neighbors and friends to house their children.
- Other States – Let’s not forget that Alabama is not the only state wrestling with illegal immigration. This legislation will greatly influence the direction and decision making of any other state currently working on immigration legislation. As if this topic didn’t put enough pressure on lawmakers…
The debate over Alabama HB 56 Immigration Law will continue to forge on in the coming months, likely making it all the way to the United States Supreme Court. Whether the law will stay in tact, become modified or simply overturned remains to be seen.
There is, however, one thing that is certain. This legislation has affected whole new groups of individuals who may have never quite understood the true impact that immigration has on their lives.
Here’s hoping they don’t forget.