By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Last week, the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice (ACIJ) reiterated their position that “the only true remedy for the harm caused by the state’s “worst in the nation” anti-immigrant law is full repeal.” The group did however indicate that they were open to compromise and would accept a weaker anti-illegal immigration bill “if it included several bottom line fixes to HB 56 which must be included in a bill to change the law”.
The Alabama state Senate is expected to consider a bill to replace HB56 this week, HB658. HB56 sponsor Alabama House of Representatives member Mickey Hammon (R) from Decatur introduced HB658 to fix some unintended consequences with HB56, the Hammon-Beason Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act. In a statement late last week, House Majority Leader Hammon said, “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.”
The Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice said that BH658 which has already passed the House “shamefully makes some provisions even worse.” The ACIJ says that they are demanding “that the state Senate take affirmative action to remove the stain from Alabama’s moral and economic wellbeing and not follow the lead of the state House.”
The Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice announced that the ACIJ steering committee and their allies were holding a news conference to list their demands on Monday, May 7 at 11:00 am central. Participating in the press conference will be: Zayne Smith, Coordinator of One Family, One Alabama campaign of the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice; Shay Farley the Legal Director of Alabama Appleseed; Bernard Simelton, President of the NAACP Alabama State Conference; Samuel Brooke, a staff Attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center; a Teacher; and a member of Alabama law enforcement will have a joint news conference via telephone to explain what they would like changes about HB56.
On th ACIJ website, Coordinator Zayne Smith said, “While we are pleased that the legislature is taking seriously the desperate need to revisit HB56, the only true way to remove the stain on Alabama is through repealing this discriminatory and destructive law.”
Senator Scott Beason (R) from Gardendale, who sponsored HB56 in the Alabama Senate last year, thinks that HB658 goes too far. “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 is sponsoring his own replacement bill (SB541) which makes fewer changes to Alabama’s anti-illegal immigration bill.
The Obama Justice Department sued the State of Alabama arguing that federal law preempts Alabama Law so the state exceeded its constitutional authority when it passed HB56. The case has been put on hold by the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, while the court waits for a ruling from the United States Supreme Court on the very similar anti-illegal immigration law that was passed by the state of Arizona.