Immigration in Alabama

The state of Alabama is experiencing a labor shortage after working immigrants leave the state in fear of immigration laws.

In 2011, a year after Arizona’s SB 1070 was enacted, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed and passed law HB 56. The law was presented to the people of Alabama as a way to make sure native-born workers were employed and not continually pushed out from jobs by undocumented immigrants.

What has instead happened is that immigrants left those jobs, mostly in farming, and no one else has filled them. This has shown that there are not enough American citizens who are willing to do the grueling, backbreaking jobs required at most farms for low pay.

HB 56 requires local law enforcement check the immigration status of an individual suspected of being undocumented at any lawful stop, detention or arrest. The law criminalizes undocumented immigrants, and this differs from the federal law, which treats it as a civil offense.

Not carrying immigration “papers” is considered a crime. This has made not just undocumented immigrants want to leave but also immigrants with legal status. Many argue that this law is allowing and promoting racial-profiling.

Along with Alabama, four other states passed laws similar to the Arizona “show me your papers” law. They are Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah. Thirty states rejected the laws and the rest of the United States made no attempt for such legislature.