The legislature in Alabama, prodded by the attorneys general of the state, is looking at making some changes to the strict immigration law that was passed earlier in the year. In the court of world public opinion, all negative, it catapulted Alabama ahead of other states in the country with immigration laws that run counter to the role of state government.
Why is this happening?
Part of it was a backlash from big business – mind you, not everyday citizens, but big business – after two executives from Honda and Mercedes were stopped for not carry proof of their immigration status. The governor of the state responded very quickly with an apology to the individuals and the companies. This didn’t look good in a state that is seeking foreign investment. The executives were released without charges even though they broke the law. How about all the other everyday citizens that have been stopped, detained and charged with not carry proof of their immigration status?
But, at the core of the issue is a position a pro-business organization has taken. The Birmingham Business Alliance expressed that the law was damaging Alabama’s image around the world. Plus, (I love this one) “it is a burden for business and local government.”
Immigration and citizenship is a responsibility of the federal government. It says so right in the Constitution. If every state, county and city in the country were to enact their own immigration laws, it would be confusing to even to the local hardware store that hires kids in the neighborhood. We could never be really sure who has the right to be here.
But, Alabama seeking to change the law in response to big business complaints is especially disturbing. Their response makes it very clear that from the start this was just political. If it wasn’t, why was it right to place all these restrictions in the law in the first place then back out of parts of the law because big business complained? The legislature was told about the law being in violation of the Constitution. Many parts of the law have been placed on hold by the courts. Individuals lobbing to stop the law told them that citizens and immigrants in good standing would be negatively profiled. But, they didn’t listen because they wanted to make a political statement that they were hard on illegals.
Business, and the bigger the more responsible they are, is the biggest trouble maker with illegal immigrants. They hire those that come to this country seeking jobs with little or no identification checking. A blind eye is turned as long as they get docile workers that don’t complain and just do their job, no matter how little they are paid. By stopping illegals from getting jobs, those crossing the border without permission would slow dramatically.
As a country, we do need to work on immigration. But, that is the job of congress and the president not individual states. The Constitution makes it their responsibility. It also means that there will be one set of rules for everyone instead of 50, or more if counties and cities get in to the act like many already have.
Congress needs to act.