Alabama-based Group Pushes to End Mistreatment of Undocumented Immigrants

As the immigration laws in Alabama get tighter, one group is continuing to support immigrant rights. The group, Southern Poverty Law Center, announced on June 6 that it will relaunch a support hotline that allows undocumented immigrants to report any injustices they feel they have experienced under the state’s immigration law.

According to CNN, the Alabama currently has what many are calling one of the “harshest anti-immigration laws in the United States.” The support hotline was introduced to the state in September, just a short time after the Alabama law went into effect. The original law, which was constructed after Arizona’s controversial immigration legislature, states that law enforcement officials within Alabama are allowed to check a person’s immigration status if they believe the individual is living in the country without U.S. citizenship. However, last month, the law was revised to be much more strict. The state’s new provision defines what is considered proper identification –  acceptable items include a U.S. passport or driver’s license – and forbids employers from hiring illegal immigrants for work.

Mary Bauer, legal director for the SPLC told The Birmingham News that the hotline was necessary after the law went into effect back in September 2011.

“State lawmakers have callously refused to address the humanitarian crisis created by Alabama’s anti-immigrant law,” she said. “As we continue our fight against this unconstitutional law, we want to know first-hand the suffering it is inflicting on people across the state.”

CNN reports that since implementing the hotline the SPLC has retained files of several abuse cases,including one situation that involved a 13-year-old girl being refused medical treatment for failing to be able to show U.S. citizenship.

The group seems to be helping a fairly large amount of undocumented citizens in the area, and will continue to do so. According to reports, more than 5,800 reports have been filed through the hotline since September.