From the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
Last Thursday Alabama became the newest state to sign into law a punitive immigration enforcement bill. Alabama’s new law, HB 56, would require local police officers to check the immigration status of anyone they “reasonably suspect” of being in the country unlawfully, make it a crime to transport or rent property to undocumented immigrants, and require education officials to check the immigration status of public school students. The law is mean-spirited and take several steps beyond Arizona’s SB1070, a controversial bill signed into law last year.
LIRS is deeply troubled by the bill’s implications and is joined by religious, community and busienss leaders in Alabama like the Rev. H. Julian Gordy, ELCA Bishop of the Southeastern Synod, in denouncing the bill. This law would derail public safety by criminalizing basic community and family activities and subject all Alabamians to intense scrutiny. Laws that target undocumented immigrants and their school-age children send the message that the only way to resolve our broken immigration system is to scare or dispel migrants from our communities.
Take action to express your concern to your governor about harsh laws that punish children, curtail community safety and create a culture of fear. Send a message to your federal officials as well about the consequences of federal inaction on fair and humane immigration reform. Your voice is urgently needed to push back against these kinds of laws.
Laws like HB 56 undermine the spirit of welcome that so many Americans and people of faith strive to embody.