Alabama Legislature Passes Sweeping Immigration Law

Alabama has passed a thorough immigration bill that both supporters and critics say goes well beyond the Arizona bill that caused an uproar across the nation when it was passed last year.

The legislation passed with huge margins in the Republican-controlled state Senate and House. It includes a provision similar to the Arizona law that allows law enforcement to inquire about the immigration status of anyone they stop if they suspect the person may be an illegal alien. In addition, it bans illegal immigrants from enrolling in a public college after high school and requires public schools to determine the immigration status of all students and the publish those figures.

The bill, known as H.B. 56, also makes it a crime for a landlord to knowingly rent housing to illegal aliens. Businesses have also been banned from taking tax deductions from income paid to illegals, among a slew of other changes.

“This is a jobs-creation bill for Americans,” said Representative Micky Hammon, the chief sponsor of the bill, told the New York Times. “We really want to prevent illegal immigrants from coming to Alabama and to prevent those who are here from putting down roots.”

The American Civil Liberties Union announced it plans to sue the state of Alabama if Governor Robert Bentley signs it into law. If passed, Alabama will be the only state aside from Georgia to successfully pass an Arizona-style immigration reform bill this year.