Debating immigration: Alabama's new law, Obama's strategy

leaving Alabama can go to other locations around the country, although some do return to their homelands. If we implemented and enforced policies nationally that made it clear that we are serious about enforcing our immigration laws we could significantly reduce the illegal alien population through attrition.

Alabama’s immigration law has been ruled constitutional by a federal judge and largely upheld by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. This ruling builds on a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year upholding an Arizona law requiring all employers to use the E-Verify system to check the eligibility of their workers. In that five to three decision, the Supreme Court ruled that states have a legitimate role to play in the enforcement of federal immigration laws.

As other states grapple with the burdens associated with mass illegal immigration they are likely to look at the beneficial results of Alabama’s law and the Eleventh Circuit’s ruling on the law as a model to emulate. On the other hand, other states, for political reasons, are likely to continue to provide official or de facto sanctuary to illegal aliens. These discrepancies are likely to persist until the federal government begins to do its job.

MG: Alabama state legislators behind the punitive new immigration law (HB 56) claim it will solve the state’s economic problems. However it’s more likely to inflict deep economic damage on Alabama’s already struggling state economy as costs to implement and defend the law run into the millions of dollars. Other states like Arizona who have also passed these types of laws have experienced a chilling effect on state businesses that depend heavily on foreign talent and investments, and this will be no different for Alabama.

Also, the additional burdens on Alabama’s law enforcement imposed by this law will hamper their effectiveness. Reportsshow the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office has already cut 20 percent or more of its budget this year, eliminating 145 deputy positions.

Alabamaschools and administrators will also have to bear the burden of enforcing the new law. The Principal of one elementary school in Alabama reportedly said, “We don’t have the personnel to do all the work that is needed to find out which parents are legal. That’s my biggest concern—putting it off on the schools to police illegal immigration. I don’t think school is the place to do that; we don’t have the resources.”

While five states did pass these