FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Alabama, Where Intolerance is King

Now that Alabama has passed what some describe as the harshest anti-immigration law in the country, it is interesting to see how Alabama has improved on the harsh anti-immigration ordinances passed by a small municipality.

In 2006 Hazleton, Pennsylvania passed two ordinances, one with the cheerful title of the “City of Hazleton Illegal Immigration Relief Act Ordinance” (IIRAO) and the other known as the “Rental Registration Ordinance (RRO).” The RRO requires, among other things, that anyone wanting to rent a residential property in Hazleton must first obtain an occupancy permit from the city. Any owner who permits people to occupy rental units without an occupancy permit must pay $1000 for each tenant who lacks the permit plus $100 per day per tenant for each day the tenant lacks a permit. Illegal aliens cannot receive permits.

The IIRAO provides that an employer hiring an illegal immigrant will lose its business license and gives individual employees the right to sue their employer for damages if they are fired when illegal aliens are employed. In 2010 the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit struck down most of the ordinances’ provisions. As a result, illegal immigrants who don’t mind living in a hostile environment continue to live and work in Hazleton. (That may soon change. On June 6 the U.S. Supreme Court granted a writ of certiorari to Hazleton that had appealed the Third Circuit’s decision. The Supreme Court remanded the case to the Third Circuit to reconsider its earlier decision in light of a case decided by the Court in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting on May 26. By the time the Hazleton case finds its way back to the Supreme Court , Chief Justice Roberts and four of his colleagues may well give the immigrants reason to leave Hazleton.)

Although Hazleton’s approaches seemed harsh, Alabama has equaled if not exceeded them in a new law enacted in June. Known as the “Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act”, the Alabama legislation includes a number of provisions that Hazleton forgot to include. That is hardly surprising since the Alabama law is 76 pages in length, considerably longer than the Hazleton ordinances. One of its more offensive provisions deals with education.

The Alabama statute requires K-12 schools to determine the legal status of each of its students. This can presumably be done on the first day of school by having the kindergarten teacher begin the day by cheerfully saying to the kindergarteners: “Do we have any illegal aliens with us today?” If no one raises a hand the teacher can go on to other matters. (If a hand is raised the act imposes certain Gestapo like requirements on the school that can be reviewed in Section 28 of the Act. The child may, however, continue as a student. At the college level the rule is different. The Act says an “alien who is not lawfully present in the United States shall not be permitted to enroll in or attend any public postsecondary education institution” in Alabama. That provision will insure that illegal aliens who stay in Alabama undetected will, in addition be uneducated, a condition that may not distinguish them from the legislators who passed the law, and will make it difficult for them to become productive members of society.

As in Hazleton, employers who hire illegal aliens are subject to sanctions that may be enforced by co-workers who are adversely affected by the hiring of the illegal alien. Section 17(a) of the Act says it is a “discriminatory practice for a business entity . . . to fail to hire a job applicant who is a United States citizen. . . . or discharge an employee working in Alabama who is a United States citizen. . . while retaining or hiring an employee who the business entity. . . knows, or reasonably should have known, is an unauthorized alien.” An aggrieved person who is not an “unauthorized alien” may sue and is entitled to compensatory relief. This provision offers employment security to the incompetent worker who cannot be discharged if the employer has an illegal alien on the payroll.

In what might be described as an “anti-hitchhiking” provision, the Alabama bill makes it a crime to transport illegal immigrants in vehicles. It says it is a crime to “transport. . .an alien in furtherance of the unlawful presence of the alien in the United States . . . .” Since driving the alien any distance would further the alien’s unlawful presence it would be best not to pick up hitchhikers in Alabama. On second thought it may be just as well not to visit Alabama. It is joining Hazleton and many states in trying to return to a time when intolerance was king. The U.S. Supreme Court may well turn out to be its most reliable ally.

CORRECTION: In last week’s column I incorrectly stated that Libya hired Goldman Sachs in a fiduciary capacity to invest $1.3 billion. Although that amount was given to Goldman to invest, Libya instructed Goldman what investments to make and the investments were not selected by Goldman.

Christopher Brauchli is a lawyer in Boulder, Colorado. He can be emailed at brauchli.56@post.harvard.edu.

 

 

 

More articles by:
September 24, 2018
Jonathan Cook
Hiding in Plain Sight: Why We Cannot See the System Destroying Us
Gary Leupp
All the Good News (Ignored by the Trump-Obsessed Media)
Robert Fisk
I Don’t See How a Palestinian State Can Ever Happen
Barry Brown
Pot as Political Speech
Lara Merling
Puerto Rico’s Colonial Legacy and Its Continuing Economic Troubles
Patrick Cockburn
Iraq’s Prime Ministers Come and Go, But the Stalemate Remains
William Blum
The New Iraq WMD: Russian Interference in US Elections
Julian Vigo
The UK’s Snoopers’ Charter Has Been Dealt a Serious Blow
Joseph Matten
Why Did Global Economic Performance Deteriorate in the 1970s?
Zhivko Illeieff
The Millennial Label: Distinguishing Facts from Fiction
Thomas Hon Wing Polin – Gerry Brown
Xinjiang : The New Great Game
Binoy Kampmark
Casting Kavanaugh: The Trump Supreme Court Drama
Max Wilbert
Blue Angels: the Naked Face of Empire
Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
William Boardman
The Shame of Dianne Feinstein, the Courage of Christine Blasey Ford 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail