Alabama Police Question Effectiveness of New Immigration Law

Local law enforcement officials in Alabama are speaking out against the state’s new immigration reform law, claiming the legislation includes hidden expenses that will make it almost impossible for them to enforce.

The sweeping immigration bill – which bans illegal immigrants from entering public universities and makes it a crime for landlords to house them, among other measures – requires law enforcement to check the citizenship status of anyone who is suspected of being an illegal alien. In addition, it also created a new team of 14 police agents maintained by the Department of Homeland Security.

However, with a budget of only $400,000, the Huntsville Times reports many believe the agency will be unable to actually do its job.

Local law enforcement officers told the Times-Journal that enforcing the new immigration policy “amounts to an unfunded mandate for law enforcement.” Police officials said it does not take into account the additional costs associated with detaining and supporting violators in the state’s already overcrowded jails.

“Also, if we arrest someone who has children with them, what do we do with the children? A lot of these things are not clearly defined and it’s going to add a lot of expense and put more burden on law enforcement,” Fort Payne Police Chief Randy Bynum told the newspaper.

Alabama is home to approximately 120,000 illegal immigrants, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. The state’s population of undocumented workers is reportedly five times higher than it was a decade ago.