Will Ala. Immigration Law Become an Excuse to Uphold Racial Prejudice?

COMMENTARY | Thursday could signal the beginning of a new time in Alabama: a time when authorities will have an excuse to punish both the innocent and the guilty because of their skin color. Sept. 29 is the day when a new law goes into effect in the state giving authorities the right to hold people they suspect are in the country illegally without bond.

This law has many implications, and Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley remarked, “Today Judge Blackburn upheld the majority of our law. With those parts that were upheld, we have the strongest immigration law in the country,” according to MSNBC.

Tea Party activist Zan Green said that she is happy with the ruling, as she is “tired of the enormous drain illegal immigrants have on the state because of education, entitlements, welfare and medical care.”

While I understand the thought behind her view, and others who also hold this opinion, I don’t believe they are thinking of the ultimate consequences of the law’s effects — not just on the potentially innocent people who could be imprisoned, but on all of us.

What happens to the people who are in America working hard to have a better life for themselves and their families? If they, or their children, are denied an education, what kind of chance will they have for a future? The odds are they will turn to a life of crime, and that affects all of us.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has been fighting a staunch battle against immigrant advocates. She has an especially strong anti-immigrant agenda, yet Martinez’s grandparents were undocumented immigrants. Had they not made the decision to come to the United States, it is likely Martinez herself would have been born in Mexico and never had the chance to become the first Latina governor in our nation.

The even bigger concern about this law is, of course, the opportunity it gives for bigots to put innocent people behind bars because of the color of their skin. It’s already happened in Arizona, where police officers can stop anyone who “looks Hispanic” and demand identification, according to Big Government.

This is a scary direction for our country to take no matter how you look at it. If the GOP truly wants “less government,” their actions are showing the opposite to be the case. The only real answer to the immigration issue is tougher border patrol, not a law that will only succeed in enabling racism to flourish.

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