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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Over 2500 March in Alabama for Repeal of Anti-immigrant Law

December 20, 2011

Causa's Francisco Lopez with children, students and famlies at rally in Alabama
Montgomery, Ala. -- Last weekend, members of Causa, Oregon’s Immigrant Rights Organization were in Alabama for Fair Immigration Reform Movement's (FIRM) Immigrant National Convention. The convention brought together immigrant rights groups from around the country and leaders from Alabama to train and plan on how to beat back anti-immigrant bills, push for pro-immigrant legislation, and continuing the fight for humane, comprehensive immigration reform.

On Saturday, organizations and individuals from all over the Nation held rally and march for the repeal of Alabama’s Anti-immigrant law known as HB 56. The turn-out, which included Freedom Riders, DREAM students, leaders from civil, immigrant and labor rights organizations and families, was estimated between 2500 and 3000 people.

The Alabama law was passed in June by the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature and signed by GOP Gov. Robert Bentley. Parts of the law took effect in late September while other parts were blocked by federal courts after successful lawsuits by the Obama Administration and immigrant rights and faith-based organizations.

On December 14th, Human Rights Watch issued 52 page report detailing how the Alabama law denies unauthorized immigrants and their families, including US citizen children, their basic rights, threatening their access to everyday necessities and equal protection of the law. The report is based in part on first-hand accounts by 57 Alabama residents, including citizens and permanent residents, who reported abuse or discrimination under the law.

The law has even drawn national attention over a couple embarrassing incidents with workers from Alabama’s Honda and Mercedes plants. Earlier this month, it was reported that Republicans who passed the law are facing backlash from the Alabama business community after two foreign workers were stopped by police for not carrying “proof of legal residency”. Many believe the incidents have turned public opinion against the draconian law.

After the incidents, the Republican attorney general called for some of the strictest parts of it to be repealed. The Birmingham Business Alliance told the Associated Press that the law is tainting Alabama's image around the world, while Thomasville Mayor Sheldon Day said the law is rekindling the memories of Alabama's civil rights past saying "It's bringing back old images from 40 or 50 year ago."


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