Don’t go if you’re not white, that is. On June 9, 2011, the State of Alabama passed the HB56 Immigration Bill. This bill allows for the state to profile, harass, and destroy the lives of those who don’t look like they were born in the United States.
The law forces schools to determine their students’ legal status and it encourages police officers to profile by giving them the power to file criminal charges against anyone who doesn’t look white. That’s right. The law states that the police can do this if the person has no documentation or if “they appear to be in the country illegally.” Law enforcement officers are never going to stop anyone who is white and if they happen to be here illegally, they will never be questioned simply because of their color. The same can’t be said for the Latino immigrant. The moment the person looks like they “do not belong” it gives the state the right to mess with them.
It also prohibits anyone to transport any undocumented immigrants in a vehicle. So you can’t give your undocumented cousin a ride in your own car in the state of Alabama. This new statue has caused many immigrants (both documented and undocumented) to leave the state.
Undocumented immigrants are a huge part of the U.S economy. These people work the demeaning jobs for meager wages that we as citizens do not want to do. They scrub the latte cups and toilet bowls, they cook your breakfast and pick the cotton that the table napkins were made from. In Alabama, crops are dying because there’s no one tending the fields and restaurants are losing most of their staff.
In a state where the Hispanic population is merely 4% and the foreign-born people make up a measly 3%, this law seems to be targeting a certain group of people: Latino Americans and immigrant workers. That’s why on October 14, 2011, a Federal Appeals Court temporarily blocked elements of this law.
The arrogance and sense of entitlement of some of the citizens in this country possess is the reason why racism persists. Until these prejudices die we will never move forward as a united nation. This entitlement stems from the color of their skins and from the fact they were born here. Clearly, these people have forgotten their history. They have forgotten that their ancestors came in the Mayflower, or through other venues, migrating from Europe. No one was asking for proof back then. It was come one, come all. They have chosen to forget that the real AMERICANS were the Native Americans. Aside from the Indian tribes, we are all descendants of immigrants.
I’m not saying that some type of immigration reform is not needed, but treating the ones already here like they were hardened criminals is excessive. What’s next? Undocumented immigrants can’t procreate in this country? I don’t like the hypocrisy. Some of the politicians who supported this bill have hired illegal workers. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in 2006 came under fire for hiring a company that hired illegal aliens. Romney knew it all along but denied it in public. And former Governor of Nevada, Jim Gibbons, was also in trouble in 1993 for hiring an illegal alien to be his nanny. They tried to deny these allegations but failed. I’m sure one or two politicians in Alabama have in the past or now on the low down hired illegal aliens. The guy mowing the lawn, the guy helping the electrician or plumber, are quite possibly not legal. People in office, like many of the rest of us, scream about stricter immigration laws to serve their personal agendas and then quietly look away when these immigrants serve them food.
The inscription on the Statue of Liberty says: Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed, I lift my lamp beside the golden door. It did not say this door will be slammed in your face unless you show papers.