By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY-Wednesday, Representative Micky Hammon (R) from Decatur released a statement defending his record opposing illegal immigration. Rep. Hammon is the sponsor of HB658. In the statement Rep. Hammon assures citizens that, “HB658 maintains the strength of the original immigration law.”
Rep. Hammon said, “In the months since (implementation of HB56), Alabama has witnessed a dramatic drop in unemployment that has surpassed the rest of the country and is beginning to jumpstart our state’s economy. Despite the whines of the liberal media and the protests of the left-wing naysayers, I believe deeply that passage of the immigration statute led directly to our embryonic economic turnaround.”
House Republican Majority Leader Hammon said, “No one believes more strongly than I in the necessity of upholding the rule of law. That is why we went to great lengths to ensure that HB658 maintains the strength of the original immigration law while removing possible obstacles facing law-abiding Alabamians.”
HB658 is intended to replace Alabama’s anti-illegal immigration law, HB56. HB56, titled the Hammon-Beason Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, was passed to assist the federal government identify illegal aliens living in Alabama. Pro-illegal alien groups and the Obama Administration have said that HB56 was too strong and exceeds the state of Alabama’s legal authority. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s Department of Justice, the ACLU, several Alabama Churches, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and pro-illegal alien groups have all sued the state of Alabama to block and overturn HB56. Based on advice from Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, Rep. Hammon and Gov. Bentley’s office prepared HB658 to deal with the unintended consequences created by HB56.
Rep. Hammon said, “Make no mistake; no changes have been suggested that weaken the law. Instead, they simply aim to make it even more workable for local governments, more enforceable for state and local police, and less burdensome for law-abiding citizens and businesses. “
Senator Scott Beason (R) from Gardendale, who sponsored HB56 in the Alabama Senate last year, is sponsoring his own replacement bill (SB541) which makes fewer changes to Alabama’s anti-illegal immigration bill. Senator Beason says that HB658 goes too far in the changes it makes to HB56. Sen. Beason said, “The House bill (HB658) changes 2/3s of all the sections.” There are over 50 changes to HB56 in HB658. “Some of those changes are substantive,” Sen. Beason said. “Section 12, our version now is word for word what they have in Arizona. They (the writers of HB658) have changed it substantially. My goal is to fix things that need clarification. I don’t have any intention to do anything that would weaken the law.”
Rep. Hammon said, “Unfortunately, a great deal of misinformation has been spread about the changes contained in HB658 by those who do not understand their intent and others who want to keep the floodgates of illegal immigration flowing into our state wide open.”
“We went to great lengths to ensure that HB658 maintains the strength of the original immigration law while removing possible obstacles facing law-abiding Alabamians. Anyone who tells you otherwise is simply not telling you the truth,” Rep. Hammon concluded.
HB658 has been passed by the Alabama House. It could be voted on by the Senate (with changes to Section 12) as early as Thursday.