Alabama’s official snarl - State has concerns more critical than illegal immigration
It’s tempting to believe that a federal judge considering Alabama’s harsh anti-illegal immigration law gave the state a one-month reprieve from its folly on Monday.
That’s not the case, however.
It’s accurate that U.S. District Judge Sharon L. Blackburn has delayed enforcement of the law until Sept. 28; it was scheduled to take effect Thursday.
It is equally accurate that Alabama’s reputation was already damaged — when the law passed the state Legislature and was signed by Gov. Robert Bentley. The more state officials crow about the toughness of Alabama’s anti-immigrant law, the worse the unfortunate stain grows.
This isn’t a law in the traditional sense of the word. It’s an official snarl carrying the stamp of approval of the Republican majority in Montgomery, a nativist fist raised in anger.
The law’s supporters on Goat Hill are filling a need. The perception of out-of-control illegal immigration exists. Over two decades, the U.S. government has done a spotty job of securing the borders. An estimated 11 million illegal immigrants live in the United States, though that number has likely dropped since the economic decline of 2008.
Many who are rightfully jittery over the poor economy have found a scapegoat in illegal immigrants. They’ve also found Alabama legislators and a governor who will feed their need for somebody to do something; well, appear to do something.
The law’s authors justify it by claiming illegal immigration “is causing economic hardship and lawlessness in this state and that illegal immigration is encouraged when public agencies within this state provide public benefits without verifying immigration status.”