• Opponents Plan Legal, Economic Challenge to Immigration Law

Alabama has a stringent immigration law and opponents are planning their next phase of attack.  This next phase will include a new legal challenge and a “public education” campaign targeting the state’s tourism and auto industries.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights CEO, Wade Henderson, said that since efforts to appeal to lawmakers have been met with indifference, groups are attempting to up the ante in their effort to get the law repealed or greatly modified.

“Our message to the Legislature is simple.  If we can’t appeal to your humanity, we then will appeal to your pocketbooks,” Henderson said in a conference call with reporters.

Those in the conference call included representatives from the Southern Poverty Law Center and the United Auto Workers.  Instead of repealing the state immigration law, lawmakers approved revisions.

CEO Henderson stated there will be “targeted advertising” to discourage tourists and groups from choosing Alabama for their vacations and conferences.  “Alabama is not a state at this time that is worthy of your contributions and support,” he said.

According to Henderson the actions are not a boycott against the state, but they believe that only through a gradual escalation of pressure on key economic sectors of Alabama can they achieve the policy changes our coalition and most Alabama citizens would support.

Lawmakers in Alabama added a provision this year that requires the Department of Homeland Security to post a quarterly report of suspected undocumented immigrants who have appeared in court for any reason and the outcome of their cases.

Mary Bauer, legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, said, “That provision is nothing more than an attempt to bully and intimidate people and it will encourage vigilantism.”  She has called the provision a “Scarlett Letter” list.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed the immigration revisions into law in May.  A Bentley spokeswoman called the groups’ efforts “misguided.”

“Alabama’s immigration law seeks to ensure that those who live and work in the state do so legally.  There is nothing unkind or unjust about that.  It is misguided for anyone to advocate boycotting Alabama simply because the state has taken action to ensure that federal immigration laws are upheld.  Some people want us to turn a blind eye to the issue of illegal immigration.  We will not do so,” Bentley Press Secretary Jennifer Ardis said.

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