Alabama Is Still Paying for Its Immigration Crackdown
HB 56, Alabama’s toughest-in-the-nation immigration law, is all but dead, but it’s still costing taxpayers money to bury it.
The state settled a lawsuit with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) this week over a provision that barred undocumented immigrants from renewing their mobile home registration. Under the agreement, Alabama will pay SPLC $230,000 to cover the cost of the group’s legal fees. The decision comes less than a year after Alabama ponied up another $350,000 to pay their opponent’s legal fees and settle a separate lawsuit that also threw out large portions of the law.
Passed in 2011, Alabama’s HB 56 was designed to force undocumented immigrants, many of whom came to the state in recent years for work in agriculture and meatpacking, to leave by blocking their ability to work, do business with the state, and even accept a ride in a car.
While it initially caused a panic among immigrant communities, judges ended up throwing out most of its toughest provisions while public officials found others so unworkable that they stripped them out in later bills themselves.