According to the Alabama County Commission Association’s Weekly Reports, the Republican State House Anti-immigration bill (which I discussed here, here, here, here and here)  may be stalled and taking a second seat the Senate version sponsored by State Senator Scott “Empty the Clip” Beason.

The House version, HB 56 by Rep. Mickey Hammon, is still sitting on the desk on the chamber floor, indicating that the Senate bill is the vehicle that will likely make its way through the process.

According to the report, Beason is slightly modifying his proposed bill, SB256.

Sen. Beason agreed this week to amendments to address the major issues impacting county government, including an amendment to allow illegal aliens to be released on cash bonds of not less than $5,000; a requirement that any sentences under this new act would be served in a state facility; liability protection for law enforcement officers working within the line and scope of their duty; distributions of at least half of the new fines and penalties to county government; and language ensuring that the persons who cannot provide proof of citizenship can be released from custody at the end of their sentence.

Beason’s bill (the version I to which have access) does not adequately address most of the problems with the bill. However,  let’s discuss some of the “improvements.”

First, a $5000 cash bond is hefty and practically amounts to no bond. A “cash bond” requires someone to actually tender $5000 to the circuit clerk not employ a bail-bondsman. How many of you have access to a extra $5000 cash?

Second, even if all of the sentences will be served in a state facility, all pre-trial detention will remain at the county or municipal jails. (Also, I know of no other criminal sanction which allows misdemeanors offenses alone be incarcerated at state penal facilities. By the way, if some is sentenced to 13 months, isn’t that deemed a felony?)

Third, how will any fines be collected from these convicted people? Remember: upon conviction, the “trespasser” will be confined “without release for any cause” until he is transported to a federal facility to await deportation processing. Accordingly, no work-release will be allowed and no probation will allowed. The statute by its very structure makes “fines and penalties” a meaningless provision because the illegal immigrant will be disabled from working.

Fourth, if the convicted “trespasser” i.e. illegal immigrant “can be released from custody at the end of their sentence,” as soon as they set foot out of the jail, they are again subject to arrest for a new offense of trespassing. Remember: they are committing criminal trespassing if they are anywhere Alabama on public or private property and are illegal. Will they be immediately arrested? and charged again? Don’t laugh: this actually happens to convicted sexual offenders which fail to register a residence before being released from jail.

The Beason is similar to the House bill; however, it has some particular flavor”

  • The Beason bill makes non-citizen children of illegal immigrants ineligible to play sports or participate in band or “in any extracurricular activity outside of the basic course of study in any primary, secondary, or postsecondary educational program.”
  • For all businesses which contract with the governmental entity, use of e-verify is mandated. It indirectly mandates such for all other private businesses.
  • Unlike the House bill, Beason provides an option for illegal immigrants convicted of illegal alien trespassing: a jail sentence up to 13 months (without possibility of release on any basis) or a “choice” for deportation.
  • Beason also creates a new state criminal offense: working  in Alabama as an illegal alien.
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