Despite the Federal court of appeals blocking some provisions of Alabama’s HB 56 anti-immigrant law, including the one that stated that all schools had to check the immigration status of incoming students, stories of children, workers and families being impacted by the repercussions of the law continue to flood the internet. The law, which supporters and proponents say is “going according to plan,” has succeeded in creating a climate of fear and persecution similar to one that existed during the Jim Crow era in the South.
Scott Douglas, III, Executive Director of Greater Birmingham Ministries said that Alabama’s new anti-immigration law worked to “put families on the run and divide them” and was “one of Alabama’s worst times since Jim Crow.”
When Politico spoke to Alabama Republican Mo Brooks about what they referred to as the “unintended consequences” of the law, such as the fact that on October 7th, 2300 children were missing from Alabama schools, he responded saying-
Those are the intended consequences of Alabama’s legislation with respect to illegal aliens. We don’t have the money in America to keep paying for the education of everybody else’s children from around the world. We simply don’t have the financial resources to do that. Second, with respect to illegal aliens who are now leaving jobs in Alabama, that’s exactly what we want.
Here are some stories of the direct impact (‘intended consequences’) of HB 56 in Alabama that have come up during the last two weeks while the law has been in effect.
From America’s Voice-
- The Birmingham News reported that one school called all their Hispanic students into the cafeteria and asked them to publicly announce their own, and their parents’ immigration status
- “One young father from Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico told me, through tears, that his 12-year-old son, who is undocumented, has always been an honor student who recently won a school trip to go to the Space Museum in Huntsville. He didn’t go, because he was afraid the police would detain him. ‘We don’t have much time to think it over … maybe we can get our affairs in order here in two or three weeks and see what our options are, maybe moving to another state, or straight to Mexico,’ the father said. (Reported by Maribel Hastings)
- “Some families don’t dare to leave the house, even to get basic items like food. The church deacon said that he knew people who had gone days without leaving to buy groceries; he had offered to bring them food himself.” (Reported by Pili Tobar)
From a Facebook page called ‘Personal stories of HB 56 in Alabama-’
- “A white friend was pulled over by a police officer in Ozark yesterday. Confused by what documentation he needed, the officer radioed back to ask dispatch. Dispatch answered, “Does the person speak Spanish? If not, just get their driver’s license.”
- “A 4 year old child being served by Children’s Rehab Services in Montgomery missed three appointments in the last couple of weeks. The child has several health issues for which she needs consistent care. The interpreter working on her case went to look for the family at the apartment complex where they live; a neighbor told her that the family had left, along with most of the other Hispanic families there.”
From a Facebook page called Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice-
- “It’s really sad I couldn’t buy any fruits and vegetables last night when I went grocery shopping because everything was rotten.”
From the ACLU of Alabama’s Facebook page-
- “Third generation farmer Brian Cash watched 85% of his workforce disappear in one day as workers fled the state in fear of harassment and discrimination since Alabama’s HB56 immigration law went into effect.”
Here are some hotline numbers for people in Alabama to report civil and human rights violations as a result of HB 56, and reach out for help and assistance:
- An important number for all people in the Hispanic community in Alabama affected by the new anti-immigrant law, HB56: 1-800-982-1620
- From the Southern Poverty Law Center: “We’re gathering stories as well. Please pass along our hotline number: 1-800-982-1620. So far we’ve received more than 2,200 calls from people who have been affected by HB56.”
For updates on local protests, please check the Facebook pages mentioned above as well as ones called ‘Veto HB56 Alabama Immigration Law- Estoy Contra la Ley HB56‘ and ’Alabama Against the HB 56.’
HB 56 has triggered widespread fear among Alabama’s immigrant communities and set off nothing short of a humanitarian crisis. We need to stand in solidarity with the people of Alabama because when we deny human rights to some we put everyone’s rights at risk.
Photo courtesy of guardian.co.uk