From The Anniston Star:
By The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Dec 09, 2011
Now he has reached out to foreign corporate executives to let them know they are welcome in Alabama.
“We are not anti-foreign companies,” the governor told the Associated Press. “We are very pro-foreign companies.”
So it follows that if Alabama is not against foreign companies and the foreign executives who run them, it must be against foreign workers, many of whom are Hispanic.
They are the law’s target group. That dirty secret is out.
Meanwhile, in Mobile, Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture John McMillan has met with farmers. Their future depends on what one in attendance called “a sustainable work force,” something the suggested immigrant replacements — prisoners, ex-convicts and the unemployed — will not provide.
However, the clearest indication this week that the law is coming apart is a memo from Attorney General Luther Strange to House Speaker Mike Hubbard and Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh. Asked his opinion of the law, Strange wrote that if he is going to defend the state in court, the law will need more than the “tweaking” Hubbard had suggested.
In the opinion of the attorney general, most of the sections of the law that have been put on hold by a federal court should be repealed.
• Churches should be exempt from prosecution for helping illegal immigrants.
• Schools should not be required to gather immigration data.
• The part of the law that allows individuals to sue public officials who do not enforce the law should be dropped.
In all, Strange’s proposals cover nearly one-third of the law’s 32 sections.
If these things were done, Strange feels he can defend the rest in court.
It’s predictable that Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, the bill’s co-sponsor and one of its staunchest defenders, expressed concern that Strange’s proposals would weaken the law. Hubbard spokesman Todd Stacy has echoed Beason’s sentiment. “Make no mistake,” Stacy said, “the Legislature is not going to repeal this law and have Alabama become a sanctuary state for illegal immigrants.”
Of course, Alabama was not a sanctuary state before the law, which returns us to the question of why it was passed in the first place.
In their rush to address an emotional issue with an emotional response, Alabama legislators wrote a bad bill that is hurting the state on many levels. The best way to repair the damage is to repeal the bill and return to the issue rationally — either in a special session or when the Legislature meets next year.
Unfortunately, a rational return to an emotional issue is not the way the Alabama Legislature approaches legislation. Given that bit of reality, the changes that Strange has proposed seem the logical course of action.
Filed under: Alabama, Arizona-copycat laws, Migrant Workers Tagged: | agriculture, Anniston Star, anti-immigrant law, attorney general, Del Marsh, draconian, farmers, farms, Gov. Robert Bentley, Hispanic, illegal immigration, John McMillan, Luther Strange, Mike Hubbard, sanctuary state, Scott Beason, Todd Stacy