New changes were made on May 16 to Alabama’s already controversial immigration law.
Alabama’s legislation, which gives law enforcement officers permission to request proof of citizenship from anyone they suspect to be in the country illegally. The provisions kept most of the original law in tact – however, it added a mandate for the Department of Homeland Security to post a regular list of the names of undocumented immigrants who have appeared in court for violating a law, even if they weren’t convicted.
According to the New York Times, the bill’s earlier version did not include some of the more controversial provisions. However the changes, which were approved by the Senate on a 20-7 vote and the House by a 67-37 vote, not only preserve the discriminatory laws, but added the new section as well. The changes came after Alabama Governor Robert Bentley said he wanted the law revised so that it was “simplified, clarified and more enforceable,” according to the Montgomery Advertiser.
In addition to the revisions, some of the more controversial sections of the bill were preserved. On April 19, Alabama lawmakers decided allowing police to have permission to ask for proof of U.S. citizenship during random traffic stops was promoting racial profiling, however, the new revisions will allow police officers to continue this practice.
Some of the other sections that remain will ban undocumented immigrants from renting property as well as make it mandatory for schools to ask students for proof of U.S. citizenship when they are enrolling, a provision which some say is negatively affecting Hispanic children in Alabama.
According to CNN, the number of absences among Hispanic children has tripled since the law was implemented and the drop out rate among the children reached a 13.4 percent spike.
Although many lawmakers and immigration advocates across the country find the legislation unfair, Alabama Representative Micky Hammon said it is just a measure he feels they must take.
“We want to discourage illegal immigrants from coming to Alabama and prevent those that are here from putting down roots,” he said during the April 19 debate.