Thursday, June 9, 2011

Alabama's New Immigration Law, the ACLU and the SPLC

I've brought this up before, however today's events make it noteworthy again.  Alabama Governor Robert Bentley today signed into law what is considered to be the toughest law yet against illegal immigration.  Some of you may not find this topic to be something you want to read about, however I've found it to be a praticularly divisive issue and important to all of us.  I must first say that I, personally, am not against immigrants coming to this country in any way, shape, or form.  Let's be honest - Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty have welcomed immigrants to the shores of this great country for years.  Just a quick read of the writing on Lady Liberty's pedestal, a poem by Lazarus, shows the intention of this country when it welcomed immigrants from 1892 through 1954.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

We welcomed immigrants and they came with merely hope and a dream - to be Americans and live a better life.  The 'Land of Opportunity', quite frankly, is more than a simple expression.  Today, however we are fighting illegal immigration, not immigration.  The law signed today will require schools to determine a student's immigration status.  It also requires employers to use the federal E-Verify system to determine if a worker is a legal resident.  Does anyone have issues with it so far?  If so, what are they?  One of the sponsors of the bill also points out that this will put many Alabamians back to work as they've lost jobs to illegal immigrants.  Now, let's take a look at those associations that, honestly, like seeing these laws passed because it allows them to justify their existence.

The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) wants to take issue with the law.  My initial thought on that is that, in their name alone, they are the American CLU.  Are we not talking about people who, in the absence of achieving citizenship status, are NOT Americans?  More on that in a second.  The other group that wants some press is the SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center).  Their direct quote about the law is that, "It is clearly unconstitutional. It's mean-spirited, racist and we think a court will enjoin it."  I'm trying to find something racist about this.  It's a law against ALL illegal immigrants and, though they may be from one specific country, does not mean an illegal immigrant from Spain or France would be treated any differently.  They're white - what's racist about that?  How is this "mean-spirited"?  You mean because it doesn't allow people here illegally the same rights as the rest of us enjoy?  Those same people that are free of paying taxes on any wages they make?  The same people that are getting public assistance and educations for their children at our expense?  THAT'S why it's "mean-spirited"?  How, too, in the name of all that is good, is this "Unconstitutional"?  Where, in the document signed over 200 years ago, does it say that people are allowed into our Union that do not have to adhere to the same laws that the rest of us abide by?  Plainly and simply, it doesn't say it anywhere.  Period.  To have this law stricken down by a court, especially the Supreme Court, is nothing but a stretch of the imagination by lawyers redefining something as simple as a word and intent.  The SPLC also said the law, "will set back progress the state has made on civil rights and race relations."  If I were black, and quite frankly as a white man, I take offense to this comment in principle.  The civil rights progress was about a march in Selma, a woman on a bus in Montgomery, and the progress made by Dr King.  These were about black Americans not having the same rights as white Americans.  I am proud to now reside in a state rich in the history of the Civil Rights movement and, honestly, feel they worked very hard to legally get the change they wanted.  These were not blacks that snuck into the country and held their hands out.  All they wanted, as Jefferson pointed out in the Declaration of Independence, was to realize that, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal...."  That was the Civil Rights movement.

There is one other group that became involved with this today, too - The National Immigration Law Center.  Their quote on the subject was, "It is a sweeping attack on immigrants and people of color in general. It adds restrictions on education, housing and other areas. It is a very broad attack. The state does not have the right to create its own immigration regime."  Again, this has nothing to do with "people of color" and the state, I believe, does have the right to create its own Immigration regime.  The state is doing nothing but saying illegal is illegal and taking care of those putting money in the state coffers.  As a matter of fact, 3.9% of the state's residents are listed as Hispanic or Latino.  That number is double what it was in the last census in 2000.  Obviously, we have no statistics for who is illegal and who isn't.  Personally, I applaud the law and the Governor's decision to sign it.  I agreed with Arizona's, too.  To me, it shows a sign that some are actually using common sense and a 'right or wrong' attitude toward illegal immigration.  Really, though, if it's such a problem, why not go to France, Spain, England, or better yet, South America?  Why not head to another country altogether?  I assume it's because they won't give hand-outs the way we do.  I assume it's because we offer help that no one else will.  I assume, as is most obviously the truth, it's because this is the best place to live in the entire world.  We'd just like you to do it legally...oh, and learn the language.  Don't make us change to fit you.  Really, it ain't cool at all....

Until next time.......

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