The North Alabama Conference Advocacy for Social Justice Team writes a regular blog. This week's entry reflects on Alabama’s settlement agreement regarding the state’s 2011 immigration law.
In June of 2011, Alabama passed HB 56, a law that both supporters and opponents called the toughest immigration law in the country. Law sponsor Micky Hammond stated that the law was designed to make life unlivable for undocumented immigrants so that they will “self deport.” Among other things, the law required police to detain anyone they suspected of being an undocumented immigrant, prohibited undocumented immigrants from attending any public post-secondary educational institution, required families to show proof of citizenship to enroll in public school, made it a crime to transport or shelter undocumented immigrants, made it illegal for undocumented immigrants to apply for a job, rendered all contracts with undocumented immigrants unenforceable, and required all immigrants to carry their immigration paper work with them at all times.
The United Methodist Church along with other faith communities, law enforcement officials, teachers, business owners, civil rights advocates, and many others stood together to declare that this law was unjust and unconstitutional. More than 150 United Methodist clergy from our conference signed an open letter sent to our elected officials and the press saying that this law was completely incompatible with our Christian principles. Bishop Willimon along with the Episcopal and Catholic bishops filed one of many lawsuits against the state.
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