Granny Bird Award: Alabama Legislature
Yes, another Granny Bird Award, this time to be shared by the state government in Alabama. In the last edition of the Award, Florence suggested I consider an award for the state of Alabama for their harsh new immigration law. I did a little scouting about on the issue and decided she had the right idea.
The whole point of the award is to acknowledge those misanthropes who adversely affect the rights and interests of the elders, especially if they go out of their way to do so. This clearly falls into the "interests" category. We're concerned about more than Social Security and Medical, after all.
So, the back story from a September 30, 2011 editorial in the Los Angeles Times:
This week Alabama became the first of several states that have passed draconian anti-immigrant laws to successfully defend key provisions of its law in court.
U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn found that parts of Alabama's controversial law didn't conflict with the federal government's authority to regulate immigration. That means that, effective immediately, state and local police must arrest and detain anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally. Schools are required to determine the immigration status of students and provide it to district officials. And immigrants caught without proper identification can be charged with a crime. [Emphasis added]
The whole law stinks, but it is the emphasized section which offends both Florence and I so deeply. In effect, the state is trying to get to the parents through their children. The parent's reaction to this is quite understandable, as this article makes clear:
Latino students have started vanishing from Alabama public schools in the wake of a court ruling that upheld the state's tough new law cracking down on illegal immigration.
Education officials say scores of immigrant families have withdrawn their children from classes or kept them home this week, fearful that sending the kids to school would draw attention from authorities. ...
Local and state officials are pleading with immigrant families to keep their children enrolled. The law does not ban anyone from school, they say, and neither students nor parents will be arrested for trying to get an education. [Emphasis added]
Yeah, right. You can count on the state to keep their word on that, given the text and the intent of the entire law.
Look, many of us elders are the children and grandchildren of immigrants. Some are immigrants themselves. Furthermore, many of our neighbors and our friends are immigrants. Not all of the rules were observed in all cases, but things got worked out as the government made some intelligent and compassionate decisions. We're still waiting for President Obama to follow through on that campaign promise. Maybe Congress should get involved if the White House is too busy running to get re-elected, but the problem can be solved, and solved reasonably if our leaders would just get with the program.
In the meantime, the Department of Justice should continue to press to have these laws overturned so that these kids can get back in school, can get their education without their parents fearing instant deportation. This "sins of the father" thing is downright shameful.
Yes, Alabama, I said shameful.