Alabama lawmakers backpedal on tough immigration law
Republican senators in Alabama are currently working on a series of amendments that would ameliorate the tough immigration law that has sharply divided the state
Republican senators in Alabama are currently working on a series of amendments that would ameliorate the tough immigration law that has sharply divided the state.
State Senator Jabo Waggonner, who recently became the chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, said the immigration law has had several “unintended consequences” that need to be addressed.
Republican State Senator Gerald Dial was even more candid stating, “It’s just common sense. Let’s step up and say we’ve made some mistakes.”
“It doesn’t weaken the bill,” he said.
Under the controversial immigration law passed in June, schools are required to check the immigration status of students, illegal immigrants are prohibited from doing business with the state, and individuals and organizations are prohibited from willingly aiding illegal immigrants.
Dial said the bill’s legal requirements to check an individual’s legal residence for every transaction has been too cumbersome and making it illegal for charities to help illegal aliens went too far.
In particular Dial wants to stop the requirement that schools verify the immigration status of children.
“I think that was one of the worst things that was put in the bill,” said Dial, who was once a teacher and a coach. “That may be a point of contention but I am for taking that out. Teachers and educators have enough to contend with today.”
The law’s “unintended consequences” have included long lines at courthouses around the state as every transaction with a state or local government entity requires a government official to verify an individual’s legal residence. In addition, businesses, especially in the agricultural sector, have complained of labor shortages after the bill caused a large exodus of Latino immigrants, with even legal residents leaving the state in fear.
Dial said amendments to the bill should not be opposed out of pride or vanity.
“I made some mistakes in voting for the bill as it was, and I’m big enough to admit it,” he said.