Alabama Law Generates New Paperwork for Businesses

Many U.S. immigrants are all too familiar with the sometimes complicated paperwork needed renew green cards, obtain permanent residency status or start the naturalization process. Under a new law in Alabama, some U.S. business owners are now encountering the same sorts of difficulties when it comes to filling out and reviewing immigration forms.

After attending a teleconference in which an attorney explained Alabama’s immigration law, HB 56, office manager Paige Gray told The Associated Press she will go through all the forms submitted by her company’s immigrant workers to make sure they are legally authorized for employment. Other area businesspeople also told the source the law has created a burden of paperwork. Steve Turkokski, a project manager with a local chamber of commerce, told the AP he has been taken aback by how complicated the law is.

In an effort to clarify what Alabama businesses need to do to comply with HB 56, organizations like the Associated Builders and Contractors of Alabama have been hosting information sessions and other educational events around the state. Not only does the law include many different provisions that impact businesses, but parts of the law have been put on hold by federal courts, adding to uncertainty about compliance, according to the AP.

One of the finer points of the law: Businesses that work with government agencies need to start using the E-Verify database to confirm the citizenship status of new employees starting in January, while other businesses have until April. This and other measures have some business owners frustrated and anxious, but the stakes are high, given that the state can revoke business licenses of enterprises not in compliance.

The law’s paperwork requirements have already impacted residents. Shortly after HB 56 took effect, long lines developed at Alabama’s department of motor vehicles offices, which are now required to establish the immigration status of every car tag renewal applicant. The September tag renewal deadline had to be extended.