How about “Envisioning Alabama Embracing Immigrants”?

On February 6, 2024, Rep. Reed Ingram, a Republican from Pike Road, addressed his fellow colleagues on the floor of the Alabama House of Representatives in Montgomery, Alabama. The image captured by Brian Lyman of Alabama Reflector shows Rep. Ingram in action before the beginning of the session.

The Alabama Legislature’s passing of the anti-immigrant bill, HB 56, in 2011, highlights the kind of laws our lawmakers create.

Being told “that’s not a compliment” implies that the statement or action made was not received positively.

The HB 56 statute was a cruel and unjust law that epitomized Alabama’s penchant for tormenting those who lacked the resources to defend themselves. Its implementation amounted to legalized bullying, which is a reflection of the state’s history of attacking vulnerable individuals.

Receive the latest news and updates straight to your email inbox each morning with our newsletter subscription. Stay informed and up-to-date with all the latest headlines without having to search for them yourself. Sign up now and never miss a beat.

Alabama’s law claimed that illegal immigration was leading to economic hardship and lawlessness without providing any concrete evidence to support this assertion.

The tactic employed was to utilize a deceptively harmless method of gathering data to intimidate families from enrolling their undocumented children in school. This callous approach was used to circumvent a four-decade-old ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that affirmed the right of these children to receive a public education.

The law prohibited individuals without proper documentation from seeking employment opportunities. Additionally, religious groups who provided transportation to individuals without legal status were at risk of facing legal consequences. Law enforcement officials were granted the authority to detain individuals whom they believed to be residing in the country unlawfully. However, it is important to note that only the federal government possesses the power to determine an individual’s immigration status.

More News:  Man from New York City gets prison term for duping Wisconsin residents with fake sports ticket scheme

The document goes on and on, spanning a total of 71 pages filled with an overwhelming sense of paranoia and unpleasantness.

The law outpaced the federal courts, causing many families to flee the state while waiting for resolution.

Alabama lawmakers had predicted that the law would lead to an influx of job opportunities for the native-born residents. However, the promised benefits never came to fruition. The truth was that tomato crops were rotting in the fields, which was a clear indication that the labor force required to pick them was not available. Despite the lawmakers’ tendency to extol rural life and demean agricultural labor, they soon realized that farm work is indeed a skilled job that demands special expertise.

Over time, the majority of HB 56 provisions were overturned by federal courts. However, there are still a few provisions that remain in place.

Alabama’s public institutions of higher education have imposed a ban on undocumented students attending.

It’s quite appalling. Although it may not be as horrendous as detaining a potential employee, it stems from a discriminatory attitude within the system that emanates like fumes.

During the last legislative session, there was a notable attempt to repeal the ban on a particular issue. The bill to alter the ban was sponsored by Rep. Reed Ingram, a Republican from Pike Road.

Ingram’s proposed bill would allow undocumented students to attend public colleges or universities in Alabama if they have completed high school or a similar level of education and have applied for legal status.

Last month, Jemma Stephenson interviewed Ingram, who stated that he does not support illegal immigration or those who do not wish to contribute to society attending college. However, he believes that individuals who are willing to work hard, get a job, and give back to the community are the ones who should be given opportunities to pursue higher education. These are the people that he and his team are targeting.

More News:  Wisconsin fugitive apprehended by U.S. Marshals near Indiana motel

Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, co-sponsored the bill, which successfully passed the House and a committee in the Senate. However, it hit a roadblock in the Senate due to a proposed amendment that would require undocumented students to have applied for citizenship at least three years before enrolling in college.

Ingram presented the bill as a project aimed at developing the workforce. It was a sensible strategy since facilitating access to higher education can undoubtedly enhance the workforce. This approach was likely to resonate with the Republican-controlled Legislature, making it the most effective way to promote the bill.

It appears that the bill will not have a significant impact.

Many individuals opt to enter the country without permission due to the lengthy process of obtaining legal entry. According to the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS), it can take more than two years to process applications for employment-based permanent residence in Atlanta. Unfortunately, hunger and other basic needs cannot wait for such a prolonged period, making it difficult for families and children to endure the backlog.

When someone is already in the country, applying for status can be an even more daunting task. This is because starting the process could result in a 10-year ban from re-entering the country if the person ever leaves. While a provisional waiver of this ban is available, the processing time for it as of the end of last month was nearly four years, making it an incredibly lengthy and frustrating process.

This measure will allow very few undocumented immigrants to attend college, regardless of your stance on the issue.

More News:  Hitchcock Police Requesting Help in Identifying Suspect Involved in Aggravated Robbery

We require a complete rejection of HB 56, in the form of an anti-HB 56.

It’s essential to recognize the truth about immigration in Alabama, which is that there is minimal immigration, and our influence on the matter is limited.

Alabama not only welcomes immigrants, but also encourages them to establish their lives in the state.

The proposed measures aim to not only enable children to pursue higher education but also empower their parents to acquire professional licenses. Additionally, there could be provisions for issuing driver’s licenses to assist them in finding employment opportunities. Moreover, the plan may also provide legal assistance to individuals seeking immigration status.

While it may seem unlikely for Alabama to adopt policies similar to other states in recent years, it’s not entirely impossible. Other states have already implemented such policies, making it a possibility for Alabama in the future.

Alabama needs an influx of people to address its demographic challenges. The state’s population is getting older, and its rural areas are experiencing a decline. Additionally, the workforce participation rate in Alabama is below the national average.

Is it possible for our government to view immigrants as potential Alabamians rather than as a threat?

It is my sincere hope that we can move forward from the pain and turmoil caused by HB 56. The only way to do so is by bringing people of good faith to our state. This approach would allow us to leave the past behind and pave the way for a brighter future.

A terrible law shouldn’t be tinkered with, it needs to be torn up. Only then can we extend our hands to embrace the stranger.

Reference Article

Avatar photo
MBS Staff
Articles: 7675

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *