Power of Immigrant Rights On Display in Alabama
November 23 2011
It has been quite the week for immigrant rights. In a massive show of solidarity this week, advocates from across the country came together to show their opposition to unjust immigration laws.
The focus of the movement’s efforts this week were on Alabama, where HB 56, the nation’s harshest and most anti-immigrant law, was implemented a few weeks ago. In many ways, Alabama has become a rallying call for the movement. Passage of HB 56 has resulted in a humanitarian crisis that grows increasingly worse each day. Reports of people being denied basic services like water and electricity have been well documented, while parents have grown afraid to send their children to school for fear that they will be bullied or detained and that their families could be separated.
On Saturday, NCLR, together with Reform Immigration for America, America’s Voice, Faith and Public Life, La Jefa, Voto Latino and Presente.org delivered 50,000 signed petitions calling on Gov. Robert Bentley to repeal HB 56. The delivery was the culmination of a 14-day march to Montgomery, the state capital. Watch coverage of the delivery below.
However, the most striking show of solidarity against HB 56 came Monday, when advocates from across the country voiced their support for the “One Family, One Alabama campaign aimed at repealing HB 56. Eleven Members of Congress traveled to Birmingham to help launch the campaign. The day included a press conference, a fact-finding congressional hearing and a spirited rally held at the historic 16th Street Baptist Church. In Washington, a solidarity vigil was also held to show support for the people of Alabama and for the “One Family, One Alabama” campaign. You can see a photo album of the day-long event here. Be sure to check out the video below, too.
And, just yesterday, the Department of Justice announced that it was filing a lawsuit against Utah’s SB 1070 copycat bill, HB 497. Utah now joins a list of states facing legal challenges for these suit, a list that includes Arizona, Alabama and South Carolina. In a blog post earlier this month about the South Carolina lawsuit, NCLR’s Elena Lacayo was especially prescient:
“The DOJ’s involvement in this case should be yet another indication that the administration will not sit idly by while state legislators overstep their boundaries and attempt to enact laws that wreak havoc on their own states’ economies and violate the civil rights of their citizens."
We applaud the federal government for taking on states that pass anti-immigrant laws and will lend our support wherever we can.
It may have been a good week for immigrant rights, but we know the struggle for justice still continues on. The events that transpired over the course of this week have reinvigorated a community and we can all expect to see much more action on this issue as we push for real immigration reform at the federal level.
Issues: Policy and Legislation Details, Immigration, SB 1070 Copycats
Geography:California, Far West, Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, Texas