Alabama Enacts Harshest Illegal Immigration Law Yet

Arizona, eat your heart out
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 10, 2011 6:57 AM CDT
Updated Jun 10, 2011 7:50 AM CDT
Alabama Enacts Harshest Illegal Immigration Law Yet
Robert Bentley speaks before signing the nation's strongest bill anti-illegal immigration bill, June 9, 2011 at the state Capitol in Montgomery, Ala. He's flanked by two state senators.   (AP Photo/Montgomery Advertiser, Mickey Welsh)

Arizona’s controversial SB 1070 law has nothing on the sweeping law Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed yesterday. HB 56 prevents illegal immigrants from going to college, applying for jobs, or renting apartments, the LA Times reports. It requires anyone registering to vote to pass a citizenship check. And, like Arizona’s law, it requires police to check suspects’ immigration status if there’s a “reasonable suspicion” they’re an immigrant. In addition, K-12 teachers are required to determine which students are illegal immigrants, though only for statistical purposes.

The bill also voids any contract signed by an illegal immigrant if the legal party has "direct or constructive knowledge" the other person is in the US illegally, and dubs it a “discriminatory practice” to fire a legal resident if an illegal one is on the payroll. Bentley said he was “proud of the Legislature for working tirelessly to create the strongest immigration bill in the country.” But the ACLU has already promised a lawsuit. Another civil rights group called it “draconian,” saying, “HB 56 is designed to do nothing more than terrorize the state’s Latino community.” (More Alabama stories.)

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