Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Alabama Latinos protest "Juan Crow" Immigration Law

Scenes from an protest in June, photo by Mark Almond/ The Birmingham News
Good news out of Alabama today, as Latinos across the state stay home from work as a show of solidarity against the dreadful, recently upheld immigration law (HB-56). The law, which is likely the most punitive in the country, requires a number of harsh measures aimed at making the state as uncomfortable as possible for undocumented migrants. As its written the law has provisions that make it a crime to transport undocumented immigrants (because you can tell, just by looking at them) and makes it illegal for colleges to enroll undcocumented students (because, once again, university admission counselors are perfectly equipped to make immigration status determinations.)  Most importantly, the law requires police to verify immigration status during many routine encounters, such as traffic stops. Not only that, but in a move that brazenly violates federal jurisprudence, the law requires schools to verify immigration status while enrolling children. The effect of these measures is to encourage police harassment of Latinos, to cause children to stay home from school, and to reduce an entire segment of the population to living in fear and uncertainty.

That's why its very encouraging to see Latinos across the state- both documented and undocumented- staying home from work to peacefully protest.
"We want the mayor, the governor, this judge to know we are part of the economy of Alabama," said Mexican immigrant Mireya Bonilla.
Its important to note here that even US citizens are participating in this protest, according to reports. Given the nature of immigration status, it is more than clear that a law that provides for measures against people "suspected of being illegal" is code-wording for  Latino. State governments need to know that when they pass laws that broadly encourage racial profiling and discrimination against Latinos, that the legally-present won't keep silent so as not to be lumped in with the undocumented.

CBS News: Hispanics Skip Work to Protest Immigration Law
The Birmingham News: Looking at the Human Side of Alabama's Immigration Law

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