We can't recommend reading the comments on this WSFA story about the possibility that some Central American child refugees might be housed temporarily at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery. After all, y'all might be trying to eat & it's surely stomach-turning.
So let's just share some screen shots:
From the guy nostalgic for the days when we put American citizens in internment camps in the "dessert:"
...and please put a lid on all that Christian crap about loving your neighbor and taking care of the poor! "That's a personal value, not a societal one, you bleeding heart "libtard!" says a sweet Catholic girl. And... Benghazi! because... Obama... and mercenary Jesus....
Holy Hamas, Batman! These kids are members of Middle Eastern extremist/terrorist groups? Exactly how did the drug wars in Central America get mixed up with Middle East politics? It takes some really "amazing" analytical skills to come up with that one.
There's a conspiracy & you liberals are too dumb to see it.... I'm wondering... What's the "right" way to "imagrate?"
Welcome to Alabama, kids.
For the record, if these refugees are housed in Alabama, we'll let you know & hopefully we can assemble a real welcoming committee to show them the "Southern hospitality" we're all proud of. No tea will be served.
Nothing proclaims morality, religiosity, and "family values" like chortling with delight as a mob terrorizes children. But can we expect anything more from the Alabama GOP? Speaker Mike Hubbard took to Facebook to applaud the Congressman Mike Rogers' announcement that Alabama won't provide any temporary sanctuary for the unaccompanied children stranded at the border.
Let 'em eat Happy Meals & sleep on the floor, President Obama. The comments under his post were of the usual sewer-like AL.com quality. One of the least offensive noted correctly: "Alabama is a poor state." Yes, and we're also one of the most publicly religious, but when the Bible rubs up against the wallet, the Good Book always gets the worst of it.
Here's the Gospel According to Hubbard: "Suffer the little children to come anywhere but Alabama."
Why is this an issue? Because if you're going to run for office and tout your religious values to get votes, you darn well better embrace those values while in office - not jettison them in favor of political pandering.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor may need to rethink his position on unemployment benefits. After trying his best to ally himself with the TEA Party, although he declined to join the House TEA Party Caucus, he found his hopes for speakership drowned by challenger David Brat - an authentic TEA Partier who admires Ayn Rand, wants to bring Biblical principals back to government, and thinks God is responsible for his win.
Wow. We totally need another one of those guys in Congress, right?
Other than Cantor and any semblance of sanity among Republican primary voters, the biggest loser yesterday was immigration reform. Although Cantor ran a number of harshly anti-immigration commercials, he also told a talk radio show host that the DREAM Act was built on "Biblical" principals. It's a terrible thing in the GOP primary to sound compassionate:
"...there's a Biblical root and a tradition in this country that says we don't hold children liable for their parents' acts and when you have kids who may have been brought here let's say at 2 months old unbeknownst to them and they've been here all their lives and they want to serve in our military, my position has been I agree with that principle."
The problem here was that Cantor was trying to appeal to both sides, while Brat is "authentically" xenophobic. Voters will go for authencity every time.
Oh, another loser was whomever Cantor hired to do his polling. Internal polls showed him winning by 30+ points, but he lost by double-digits. Since 2012, Republican pollsters have had a lot of problems with statistical analysis and polling. With any luck, that will continue well past 2016.
Brat's Democratic opponent is Jack Trammell, also a college professor:
With Cantor’s loss, Trammell suddenly finds himself on a much more level playing field — facing, in Brat, a fellow Randolph-Macon professor and a candidate with a much leaner bankroll than Cantor’s.
In a statement Tuesday night, Trammell said Cantor’s loss proved that “Virginians are hungry for a radical change from the dysfunctional and reckless politics being practiced by those in Congress.” [...] Trammell is also a frequently published author, having most recently published “The Richmond Slave Trade: The Economic Backbone of The Old Dominion” in 2012. He has also served as president of the Blue Ridge Virginia Writer’s Club.
It will be interesting to see if Trammell can turn this into a real race. Virginia's 7th district is heavily Republican and politically conservative. I doubt he'll be running to the left, but he'd certainly be better than sending another TEA Party "brat" to the House.
Alabama has agreed to pay $230,000 in lawyer fees as part of a settlement of a lawsuit that stemmed from the state’s ill-fated, far-reaching immigration law, the Southern Poverty Law Center said today.
The state already agreed to pay $350,000 last year as part of the settlement in another immigration law case, bringing the two year payout total to $580,000 for plaintiffs' legal fees.
Today’s settlement is from a 2011 lawsuit filed by fair housing advocates and two individuals who were denied or facing denial of their mobile home registration tags, under a provision of HB 56, which the Alabama Legislature passed in 2011.
Since the official Republican line in 2011 was that the law had "no unintended consequences," I guess we can assume this is part of the supermajority's job creation plan - for lawyers.
Remember AL-05 Congressman Mo Brooks' famous statement that he would do "anything short of shooting" illegal immigrants? The AFL-CIO does - and so will those who watch Spanish language TV, where the nation's largest organized labor group is reminding Hispanic and Latino voters who their political friends are... NOT.
Iowa Rep. Steve King makes an appearance in one clip, referring to illegal immigrants “hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”
And in multiple commercials, the AFL-CIO highlights Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks’s statement that he would do “anything short of shooting” undocumented workers in order to crack down in illegal immigration.
Tom Snyder, the AFL-CIO strategist who's leading the immigration reform campaign has this grim reminder for the party that lost the Hispanic/Latino vote by a huge margin in 2012:
“This is just a beginning. This is a down payment,” Snyder said, adding: “The Republican Party may control the immediate fate of immigration reform, but Latinos and other immigrants control the long-term fate of the Republican Party.”
The TEA party extremists, feeling secure in their gerrymandered districts, show in so many ways that they don't care about the future of the party as a whole.
Tuesday night's crowd at the Nuns on the Bus Civil Rights forum was so large that the event had to be moved outside. The 150+ people in attendance didn't mind. We had come to hear from a courageous group of women who amazingly found themselves fighting with their own Church hierarchy on the issues of poverty, immigration, and social justice.
NETWORK Executive Director Sister Simone Campbell was the first speaker and she described how the first "Nuns on the Bus" tour came together last year. The group had been lobbying against the "Paul Ryan Budget" that cut services for the poor, children, and elderly while giving tax cuts to the rich. Unfortunately, she observed, the 40 year old advocacy group wasn't getting much assistance from the Church leaders. So they turned to other faith communities and secular social advocacy groups.
Out of that meeting, on May 14th, 2012, the first "Nuns on the Bus" tour was planned.
Now, Sr. Simone continued, they're doing it again this year because we can't miss the opportunity: immigration reform is for the 100%. The strategy is to "stand with bold Republicans" and encourage other Republicans to find the courage to stand with them, reminding them that "welcoming the stranger" is a tenet of faith in all religions.
Sister Mary Ellen Lacy, a lobbyist for NETWORK, spoke next and emphasized the history that brought us to this point, concluding with a call for action: "This is our time! Not a time for sympathy, but a time to act!"
Other speakers described the issue of immigration in quite personal terms, describing their own experiences as immigrants and those of their family members.
Father Thomas Ackerman, a priest in Birmingham who works with Hispanic outreach, urged the crowd to remember: "We are a better country because we are a country of immigrants." He advised that the best way to discuss this issue with others is to put it in personal terms. This is an issue that affects families, splits families, and causes huge amounts of uncertainty and suffering. Tell those stories, he said.
Sr. Simone concluded the forum by stressing just how urgent the situation is and how we have only a limited amount of time to act.
"We want to raise a healthy tsunami of people to speak out and take action. We have a very narrow time to get this done. It will be on the floor of the Senate on Monday and we need a big bi-partisan vote coming out of the Senate to put pressure on the House to act."
She said she still has hopes of getting Senator Shelby's vote. Sessions? not so much... But we can't give up: "Welcoming the stranger is the glory of our past and hope for our future. Alabama, we're counting on you!"
Learn more about NETWORK at their Web site and follow the Nuns on the Bus tour progress across the country on Facebook.
Finally, kudos to Alabama State Senator Linda Coleman who attended the event and who mingled with the crowd, speaking for a while with Sr. Simone after the forum.
Video clips are on the flip, along with some photos of the event.
Well this is a great plan. Let's make practicing medicine even more difficult in Alabama. With rural hospitals closing, our Governor stubbornly refusing to expand Medicaid, and many areas already facing a shortage of doctors.... there's this little aspect of the state's immigration law.
Recently, we heard from several physicians who said they'd received letters from the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners telling them to send in a notarized statement that says they're either citizens or legal residents. Thinking that this was just too silly to actually be true, I did some research.
The medical license component did not kick in until this year. Already-licensed physicians and physician assistants now have only two weeks to get their information to the Medical Licensure Commission. Those applying for a license for the first time will be required to either demonstrate they are in the country legally or sign a declaration of U.S. citizenship and give proof, according to the letter. If they don't provide the information, they will not be able to receive or renew their licenses.
Nuns on the Bus is a project of the NETWORK Lobby, a Catholic social justice lobby that had the distinction of being reprimanded by the Catholic Church hierarchy for focusing on issues like poverty and hunger, while remaining silent in “the lively public debate about abortion and euthanasia in the United States.”
Our nation’s immigration system is broken. Increased enforcement is tearing families apart and causing suffering for those who are otherwise willing and eager to contribute to our society. Our nation needs an immigration system that reflects our faith values and the needs of the twenty-first century. Such a system reunites families and allows workers the opportunity to come forward without fear to pay taxes and earn legalization. A functioning system will serve the needs of our entire nation.
(Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III. Bless his heart. - promoted by countrycat)
Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States rejected Alabama's appeal to consider the state's 2011 "show me your papers" anti-immigration law, formally known as HB 56. As a refresher, Alabama's anti-immigrant law made international news for its Draconian "self-deportation" provisions, including targeting the immigration status of schoolchildren.
From a political, economic, and moral perspective, the Alabama law and its "self-deportation" vision are a demonstrated failure that should serve as a cautionary tale of how not to conduct immigration policy. Yet despite the widespreadcriticisms and negative attention received by the law, not everyone has learned the lessons from Alabama's failed "self-deportation" experiment. In fact, Alabama's very own Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) - an enthusiastic supporter of HB 56 - wants to bring the failures of Alabama's immigration approach to the nation. At the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week, Senator Sessions welcomed his allies from the anti-immigrant movement: Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State, the advisor behind Mitt Romney's "self-deportation" strategy and the author of the Arizona and Alabama "show me your papers" laws; and Mark Krikorian, head of the anti-immigrant think tank Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and the intellectual author of the "self-deportation" strategy. Evidently unaware that this strategy may well have cost Romney the election, Kobach went on to remind listeners that "self-deportation is not some radical idea. It is simply the idea that people may comply with the law by their own choice."
Said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America's Voice:
It's truly remarkable that after all the backlash from the failure of the 'self-deportation' approach in both the 2012 elections and in his home state, Sessions is still pursuing it as a matter of national policy. If immigration reform fails and the 'self-deportation' proponents win, the GOP can certainly thank Sen. Sessions and his anti-immigrant allies for sealing the deal with Latino voters - negatively - for a generation.
As New York Times editorial writer, Lawrence Downes, writes in a new blog post:
What's the deal with Alabama? Besides HB56, which tries hard to outdo Arizona's SB1070 as the nastiest state immigration law in the country (and in many ways succeeds), Alabama has a United States Senator, Jeff Sessions, who is among the loudest of the die-hards now doing all they can to block, stall or kill immigration reform in Congress.
Evidently, Senator Sessions wants to do for the people of America what his state's anti-immigrant law has done for the people of Alabama. It's up to the rest of the country to tell Senator Sessions 'no thanks.'
A lower court's ruling striking down most of Alabama's HB 56 law will stand, we learned when the Supreme Court announced it would not not hear the state's appeal to revive its worst-in-the-nation anti-immigrant law.
It was two years ago that Alabama passed HB 56, a horribly strict "self-deportation" law that chased immigrants out of the state, required K-12 schools to report on the immigration status of schoolchildren, deprived immigrants of legal protection and rights, decimated some of Alabama's key industries, and left crops rotting in the fields.
Last year, the Supreme Court dismantled most of SB 1070, the anti-immigrant law in Arizona that HB 56 took much of its inspiration from. A federal appeals court then struck down most of HB 56. Now the Supreme Court has decided not to hear further arguments on the case, effectively closing the history books on the failed experiment of HB 56 and similar anti-immigrant laws.
As Pulitzer Prize-winning Alabama columnist Joey Kennedy wrote this morning:
Alabama's overreaching, harsh immigration law can't get a break. And that's good, because HB 56 doesn't deserve a break. It deserves to stay broken.
Conceived to be cruel to decent people, this hateful law deserves everything it gets.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the leader of our Gang of Hate, has always been a strong supporter of HB 56 (he's a big fan of self-deportation in general). The closing of this law's chapter should serve as another warning to Sessions and other opponents of immigration reform that momentum is not with them. History is moving away from them, and an America that wants immigration reform will be quick to leave their ugly anti-immigrant politics behind.
Alabama Republicans are on an Obsessive Crusade. Top priority is protecting the potential lives of the potential babies of the actual women who live here. Since 2010, Alabama Lawmakers have introduced more than 40* bills that, if signed into Law, would:
1) prevent women from accessing basic reproductive care, birth control, and abortion services;
2) prohibit private companies from covering Ladypart procedures they don’t like; and
3)protect healthcare providers from covering and providing medication/services which "violate their conscience," including the use of birth control pills to treat ovarian cysts.
Bills that restrict women and their families from accessing family-planning services are bad news for (duh) women, families, babies, and children. In case you've been living under a rock, here are a few reasons why:
They restrict access to basic Ladyparts Care, especially for low-income women. Some of these bills prohibit State or Federal funds from going to organizations that provide abortions. So if a clinic provides any abortions (take Planned Parenthood: did you know 97% of services are not related to abortion?), it is not eligible to receive any public funds to provide cancer screenings, pap smears, low cost birth control, breast exams, treatment for vaginal yeast and bacterial infections, or STD tests and treatment.
Also, just in case a clinic scrapes together funds to stay open, the latest bill requires hospital regulations, like making all hallways at least 6 feet wide. Maybe Legislators don’t realize that our biggest organ – the baby organ - still fits inside our bodies? Huntsville’s clinic, Alabama Women’s Center, will probably shut down.
They prohibit private insurance policies from covering birth control or abortion. Because having Ladyparts means never having to say “I’m sorry… but it’s none of your GD business why my doctor prescribed hormone pills.” Recent bills allow employers the right to choose… whether or not their employees’ insurance policies cover “birth control” pills. So not only are potential persons prioritized over actual persons, so are nosey-ass business owners! Surprisingly (just kidding, I’m not surprised), only women’s sexual healthcare is a target; no word on when they’ll introduce a bill to prevent coverage of Erectile Dysfunction and Viagra/Cialis prescriptions.
Additional bills prohibit private health insurance companies from covering elective abortions -unless they require an additional premium for an extra plan with optional coverage of abortion. So in case you’re planning on getting pregnant and having an abortion, better buy that extra coverage! Because having an abortion is always part of the plan, am I right, ladies?
They define embryos and fetuses as Persons, a legal definition that can result in cases of women being arrested and prosecuted after miscarrying. It already has. More than once. Multiple bills refer to the "Personhood" of embryos and fetuses, which sponsors have said they hope will affect using in vitro fertilization because the souls of discarded embryos may burn in Hell forever. (Seriously. Click the link.)
They undermine doctors and women by interfering with treatment and requiring medically unnecessary, costly procedures, such as the Government-mandated Ladypart Probe. Some of the bills require waiting periods and medically unnecessary transvaginal ultrasounds prior to abortions (Side effects include indignation, pain, cost of the Probe, and hopefully, an increased desire to have babies). Other bills require patients to attend a specific number of office visits, and physicians to describe the embryo/fetus and “counsel” patients on alternatives to abortion - just in case OBGYNs and their patients have no idea what they’re doing in the clinic on Abortion Day. How helpful! Unless you’re missing work for the appointments, don’t want to be probed or pay for a probe, or trust your OBGYN is more qualified than an Elected Official Who Allegedly Attended Community College and Thinks He Knows More About Practicing Medicine on Ladyparts Than Actual OBGYNs.
At least Alabama potential babies and children have widespread post-birth access to healthcare, government assistance, and education. Haha! Just kidding. Alabama Lawmakers have introduced bills to cut eligibility for TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), food stamps, and Medicaid, while simultaneously cutting Education budgets. Recent bills include eliminating eligibility for public assistance for adults who use drugs. I guess they think kids/babies of crackheads can fill out TANF forms on their own. Best I can tell, Elected Officials hope to increase the number of unwanted babies and prevent the most pitiful among them from accessing public assistance for food, shelter, and medicine. Republicans 1; Crackbabies 0. Hey, at least those kids will have a chance to suffer post-birth!
When women don’t have access to safe, legal abortion: Sometimes they die. Other times theyneed treatment for illegal botched abortions. Better case scenario: they'll live, as will their little unwanted baby, happily ever after, below the poverty level on government assistance – if they can still get it. So restricting women’s access to birth control and abortion may cost women their lives or health, and will probably cost Alabama taxpayers more money, but at least those potential babies were prioritized over actual Alabamians! But once you’re born, you're on your own. Don't worry, little Crackbabies, soon you'll be old enough to go to the privatized prisons.
Lasagna’s Tip of the Day: If you don’t believe in abortion, don’t get one.
* 2010 bills: SB49, HB39, SB335, SB365, SB361, SB457, SB366, SB312; 2011: HB573, HB557, HB558, SB308, SP298, SB281, SB201, HB18, HB178, SB46, SB322, HB41. 2011 bills: SB366, SB312, SB322, HB41; 2012 bills: SB27, HB739, HB418, HB223, SB6, SB12, SB20, SB96, HB112, SB5, SB10, HB375, SB105; 2013: SB205, SB130, HB57. This list does not include ALL bills relating to birth control and abortion, merely all the ones found in a brief online search at www.openbama.org (help yourself to look for more)
** Since 2010, 32 states have placed restrictions on abortion. Elected Officials in Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia (just to name a few) consider themselves entitled to make reproductive decisions on behalf of their constituents.
Taking a cue from their failed presidential nominee, the GOP establishment has decided to abruptly pivot on an important issue. The party that cheered for "empty the clip," "show me your papers," & "self deportation" has now seen the demographic handwriting on the wall. They want to "deal with immigration" and take the issue off the table in future elections.
That long, low howl of protest you hear is undoubtedly coming from Scott Beason.
...Obama carried the Latino vote by a 75-23 margin—more than the roughly 70-30 split indicated by the exit polls—with voter turnout in the demographic totaling a full 10 percent of the total vote.
According to Stanford University’s Gary Segura, the professor who conducted the poll, the Latino vote delivered 5.4 percent of President Obama’s vote total, considerably more than Obama’s final lead over his challenger in the popular vote.
And so now, the GOP flip-flopping is a breathtaking spectacle that would make Romney proud. Sean Hannity led off with the announcement that he had "evolved" on the issue. Evolution? Oh my....
Radio and television hotspur Sean Hannity — who for years has spit the word “amnesty” like an epithet — declared Thursday that he has “evolved” and now supports creating a “pathway” to citizenship for those already in the country illegally. [...] The Fox star put his animus toward the issue on display again and again. [...] He listened politely as right-wing virago Michelle Malkin suggested that Democrats wanted amnesty so they could “recruit more illegal aliens, so they can turn them into Democratic voters.”
But this sudden interest in a more moderate approach to immigration will face a good deal of pushback from the GOP base. They're already grumbling about it on right wing blogs like Redstate. For example:
The Tea Party tried working WITHIN the Republican party, it is time to go rogue and LEAVE THE REPUBLICAN PARTY in the DUST. THEY ARE THE Minority, not us. IT is time for MASSIVE CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE.
To those who preach moderation I say: look at the vibrant GOP in the Northeast part of the nation (and now California). Have you noticed moderate Scott Brown, incumbent, lost to the 1/32 Cherokee? Have you noticed that "the most electable" moderate Mitt Romney just got his (and our) butts whumped -- in an election that should have been a cake-walk for us?
We're not sure how this fight will play out, but one thing is certain. It will be delicious to watch:
“We’re going back to the party of Shogun-type dynasties, where the Tea Party has their coalition, and the moderates have their coalition, and it’s going to be a battle to see who comes out on top,” said Luis Alvarado, a Republican strategist in Los Angeles with expertise on Latino voting patterns.
And how will the Alabama GOP react if/when the national party abandons its "self deportation" stance? I can't wait to find out.
It's time to get past the name calling and get serious about reasonable immigration reform.
To that end, you don't want to miss "An Evening with Jose Antonio Vargas" at UAB Hill Center Alumni Auditorium on Tuesday, Oct. 30, from 7 until 9 p.m. The (free) event features a conversation with Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and immigration activist Jose Antonio Vargas -- who is himself an undocumented immigrant -- about Alabama's immigration law and national immigration policy.
"I don't think we're having a conversation about human beings," Vargas said. "I think for the most part, we're having a lot of name calling, there's a lot of 'You're illegal, you're breaking the law, get out of here.'"
It's time to stop using immigration as a tool to gin up votes in election years and start working toward a reasonable, workable solution to this multi-faceted problem.
As so often happens when Senator Beason opens his mouth, he had no idea what he was talking about. As Bloomberg reports:
Republican state Senator Scott Beason, a sponsor, said at a news conference last year that the restrictions on undocumented workers would “put thousands of native Alabamians back in the work force.”
Instead, it caused a labor shortage that resulted in the importation of hundreds of legal African and Haitian refugees, and Puerto Ricans, according to interviews with workers, advocacy organizations and businesses. Most were recruited by the poultry industry, in a segment of the economy that has been a heavy employer of undocumented workers, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, a Washington research group. [...] Wayne Farms found Eritreans, displaced by war and conflict, and other Africans through East Coast Labor Solutions LLC, a Fairlea, West Virginia-based labor broker. East Coast has about 200 workers in Alabama, owner Ray Wiley said in an interview.
Most of these worker have landed in Albertville and I, for one, certainly hope that some of the African workers stay to open restaurants because Eritrean food is awesome!
But this article should raise a BIG red flag: these workers are being provided by "labor brokers" and the last time those guys were in the news, they were employing hapless "guest workers" in near sweatshop conditions in Huntsville at the Cinram DVD facility.
The workers are employed by Ambassador staffing agency. Ambassador distributed workers, upon arrival, among 20 local landlords. Circumstances varied greatly, but some workers reported paying as much as $300 per person per month to share a small, furnished apartment with three or more roommates.
In one case in November, The Times found four Jamaican women who paid a combined $1,200 a month for an apartment with busted plumbing and no heat that had rented for $450.
In February, the Fair Housing Center of Northern Alabama, a nonprofit agency based in Birmingham, and the NAACP began questioning housing for foreign workers in Huntsville.
Landlords "were charging some of the people $300 per bed," in "roach-infested" apartments, Jerry Burnet, chair of the state housing committee for the NAACP, told The Times last month. "They've got a little small bed, like you have in a barracks, and they were putting three in each room."
Wormsby said HUD opened the formal investigation after receiving the complaints gathered by the NAACP and the Fair Housing Center.
Remember though... compared to Gov. Mitt Romney's little paen to Chinese slave labor working conditions, Cinram was a real "worker's paradise." From his now-famous Q&A to wealthy supporters last Spring:
And they work in these huge factories, they made various uh, small appliances. And uh, as we were walking through this facility, seeing them work, the number of hours they worked per day, the pittance they earned, living in dormitories with uh, with little bathrooms at the end of maybe 10, 10 room, rooms. And the rooms they have 12 girls per room.
These types of working conditions are a feature, not a bug in the Republican plan for working Americans.
So I'd suggest that we give Senator Beason a nice little Bronx cheer for yet another of his "unintended consequences" to the immigration bill. He's managed to exchange one set of low wage workers who have little or no leverage or ability to demand fair wages & safe working conditions with another set. And yet... maybe it wasn't "unintended" after all!
On top of low wages, no benefits, and no legal right to unionize, these workers face the constant threat of deportation if they speak out against their employer. It is within this context that we must understand the crash that six months ago killed 11 farm workers, including 9 migrants from Peru, near the Canadian town of Waterloo. Since the accident there has been no government investigation into the transportation and living conditions of migrant farm workers in Canada and fleeting media coverage. Like South Africa, migrant farm workers in Canada live in isolated rural areas, often housed directly on the farms, where they often experience severe discrimination and racism.
Don't get me wrong: I'm thrilled that some of these refugees have a chance at building a better life in a stable community with a decent job. But we need to be vigilant and make sure that's actually the case. Because past history has shown us clearly that these desperate people are willing to accept low wages, terrible working conditions, and are ripe for exploitation.
Anybody want to explain how this is an improvement?
Yesterday, the state of Alabama filed a motion asking the full 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear arguments about the state's worst-in-the-nation anti-immigration law. The Alabama law, HB 56, made international news for targeting schoolchildren in an overzealous attempt to make their undocumented parents self-deport. Alabama's appeal comes after a three judge panel from the 11th Circuit ruled in August that major provisions of the law are unconstitutional, including one that the Montgomery Advertiserdescribes as:
requires students to provide documentation of their birth, either through a birth certificate or a sworn statement from parents as to the child's status. If the child or parents do not provide such documentation, the student is counted unlawfully present.
"Instead of turning its sights on Congress and pressing the need for comprehensive, federal immigration reform, Alabama's Republican leaders continue to double down on these mean-spirited policies, and waste taxpayer money on expensive lawsuits," said Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America's Voice.
In addition to continuing to challenge lawsuits brought to protect the Constitution from the state's overreach, a University of Alabama economist has estimated the price tag of the state's law to be a whopping $11 billion. This doesn't even get into the intangible costs to Alabama's reputation across the nation and the world, as the immigration debate there becomes a new expression of the state's ugly history on civil rights.
We are filing this based on principle. As the governor of Alabama, I have a duty to uphold and defend Alabama law. Federal courts should not restrain state governments in a way that is contrary to the U.S. Constitution.
The courts have already spoken and said that these provisions of Alabama's law are unconstitutional. It seems the only 'principle' Governor Bentley is fighting to uphold is the right to ask children for their papers. Is that really the type of country we want to be?
According to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the answer is "yes." Alabama's law was written by Romney immigration advisor Kris Kobach, and is based on the same strategy of "self-deportation" that Romney has embraced since the Republican primary. This policy was reflected in the GOP platform at the Republican convention last month, and continues to be the Party's stated position on what to do about the status of the 11 million men, women, and children currently living in America without papers.
Governor Bentley and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer are giving us a preview into what life would look like under Mitt Romney's self-deportation policy. It's a frightening picture of a society that pits children against their parents and neighbor against neighbor. By continuing down this path they are not only hurting their states, but also clarifying the stakes for all of us in November.
Alabama’s worst-in-the-nation immigration law found a supporter in Senator Sessions (R-AL). Asked about the thousands of undocumented kids were too scared to show up for school,Sessions said that it wasn’t sad. Sessions slammed the decision to stop deporting undocumented kids as“mass backdoor amnesty” that has “declared to the American people that [Obama] is determined to… circumvent the will of the people.”
In an emailed statement, Alabama DREAMER Victor Palafox said local undocumented youth are not afraid to stand up and remind the immigrant community of their friends and their foes -- “We are undocumented and unafraid. We will not let you take away Deferred Action from us”
The Immigrant Youth Leadership Initiative of Alabama (IYLIA) will be holding a rally outside of the restaurant “The Club” in Birmingham where Mr. Romney is having a fundraiser on Wednesday night. Their message for Mitt Romney is simple – “You have shown your true colors and we will not stand for your anti-immigrant rhetoric; we will continue to defend the immigrant community in Alabama and we will not allow Alabama to be tainted by anti-immigrant hate.”
On such an important and celebratory day join members of IYLIA on Wednesday August 15th from 5 – 7 pm CT outside of “The Club” as they remind Romney of their powerful voice and defend the new policy that will give DREAMers temporary relief.
When: Wednesday, August 15th, 2012 at 5:00 pm CST
What: The Immigrant Youth Leadership Initiative of Alabama (IYLIA) will be holding a rally to remind Romney of their powerful voice and defend the new policy that will give DREAMers temporary relief
Where: 1 Robert S. Smith Dr., Birmingham, Alabama 35209
Who: Immigrant Youth Leadership Initiative of Alabama
Judge Mark Kennedy, Chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party, sounds like a Democrat in this statement on the US Supreme Court's decision to strike down major provisions of Arizona's anti-immigrant law (bold added):
“The Supreme Court’s actions yesterday are a step in the right direction for immigration policy. Even a Supreme Court that is widely perceived as one of the most conservative in the history of the institution is able to recognize the unconstitutionality of legislation based on discrimination.
The decision is a welcome blow to the legitimacy of Alabama’s own immigration law. The Republican leadership in the state has fought for these recklessly unconstitutional laws even though they are continually proven to be nothing but a catastrophe for the state. From the millions of taxpayer dollars the state has spent in its defense to the international embarrassment continuing to deter economic development, Alabama has already felt immeasurable shockwaves from its Republican leadership’s stubbornness. I can only hope that yesterday’s ruling will be the catalyst that Alabama desperately needs to change its backwards stance on immigration on our road to recovery.”
Thank you, Judge Kennedy, for sounding like a Democrat on this important moral (and legal) issue.
For all those immigrant-haters in Alabama who have been saying "our anti-immigrant law isn't unconstitutional because the Supreme Court hasn't struck down Arizona's" -- look out. In a 5-3 decision the US Supreme Court just invalidated big chunks of Arizona's SB 1070.
The Supreme Court found that sections 3, 5 and 6 of Arizona's law directly conflict with federal immigration law and are unconstitutional. Mary Bauer, legal director for the SPLC, says:
“Today’s decision is a blow to Arizona’s anti-immigrant law and similar copycat laws that have sprung up in other states. The court’s decision affirms that much of these laws are unconstitutional because they are preempted by federal law and that they have significant concerns about the one provision they allowed to stand.”
That provision is the racist, "show me your papers" provision that opens the door for racial profiling by law enforcement and harassment of anyone who doesn't look like us. Rea Carey, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force was understandably concerned that the Court left that provision alone:
“This ruling strikes down some key provisions of a draconian law that makes people more vulnerable to abuse. SB 1070 and laws like it only serve to divide us by opening the door to racial profiling, infringement of civil rights, and harassment and violence against those seen as ‘different.’ While we are encouraged by parts of today’s decision, the path has been cleared for the most offensive portion of the law – the ‘show me your papers’ provision – to take effect. Nobody should be forced to live in constant fear of having their family torn part, of being separated from their loved ones, while simply trying to go about their daily lives.
The Court left the door open to revisit the constitutionality of Arizona's "show me your papers" provision after it goes into effect.
“We are not talking here about a federal law prohibiting the States from regulating bubble-gum advertising, or even the construction of nuclear plants,” he declared. “We are talking about a federal law going to the core of state sovereignty: the power to exclude.”
Adam Winkler, a constitutional law professor at UCLA, pushed back on Scalia’s argument.
“Scalia has finally jumped the shark,” Winkler told TPM. “He claims to respect the founding fathers, but his dissent channels the opponents of the Constitution. Back then, opponents argued that the Constitution denied states their sovereignty by giving too much power to the federal government, as with immigration. Now Scalia echoes their complaints that states are being denied their sovereignty. States are not sovereign when it comes to powers vested in Congress, such as the authority over immigration and naturalization.”
Yeah, state sovereignty is one of those conservative code words. Kind of like states' rights.
Second Front has reactions from Alabama pols, most of whom are working hard to make lemonade out of this pile of lemons. House Speaker Mike Hubbard managed to work both President Obama and states' rights into his response:
States really are the last line of defense to protect the rights of the people, and never has that been more evident than with President Obama ordering federal agents to stand down on immigration enforcement actions. States have not only the right, but the duty to uphold the rule of law and protect their citizens, especially when the federal government refuses to do so.
They reported that HB56 mastermind Scott Beason "is still reading the ruling, but is surprised SCOTUS considered foreign affairs in its decision." Join the club, Scott. Many of us were surprised when the Alabama Legislature got involved in enforcing the nations borders, too.
What does this mean for Alabama's HB56? According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which called this ruling a "major blow" to anti-immigrant laws, Alabama's HB56 ...
... includes three provisions similar to those considered in the Arizona case: police inquiries into immigration status; criminalizing being present in the state without immigration papers; and criminalizing soliciting work. Several other provisions have no overlap with those considered in the Arizona case, including: requiring inquiries into immigration status of students and their parents;; criminalizing day laborer activities; criminalizing helping undocumented immigrants; criminalizing certain transactions with public officials by undocumented immigrants; and making many contracts unenforceable if they involve undocumented immigrants. All these provisions have been blocked, except the requirement of police to inquire into immigration status. An appeal is pending in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The precise impact of the Arizona decision will be decided by the Eleventh Circuit later this year.
The fight against these cruel self-deportation laws is not over, but the bad guys suffered a significant blow today.
Or could a Mitt Romney-Marco Rubio ticket at least loseextreme right-wingers in Alabama?
No, I'm not even referring to the evangelical Christian concern about Mitt Romney's religion (but do read that piece from the Crimson-White). We're talking immigration policy, here. Marco Rubio (justifiably) doesn't understand Alabama-style "self-deportation" laws.
"I have never understood self-deportation as a policy."