According to the Birmingham News:
Key Republican senators say they are compiling a list of changes that need to be made to Alabama’s new immigration law, described as the nation’s toughest.
Sen. Jabo Waggoner, R-Vestavia Hills, who on Tuesday replaced immigration bill sponsor Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, as chairman of the powerful Senate Rules Committee, said there is wide agreement the bill had several “unintended consequences” that need to be addressed.
“We are looking at different fixes,” he said.
More blunt was Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, who is one of the senators helping craft a package of amendments.
“It’s just common sense. Let’s step up and say we’ve made some mistakes,” Dial said. “It doesn’t weaken the bill.”
Dial said he doesn’t believe the immigration law, approved in the waning days of the legislative session in June, would have passed if senators had had more time to fully understand its ramifications.
Law enforcement understood the ramifications as early as April 10. Church ministries understood the ramifications as early as April 9. The County Commission Association saw the “danger” and understood the ramifications as early as April 8. Medical clinics understood the ramifications as early as April 15. Social workers understood the ramifications as early as April 11. Southern Baptists understood the ramifications and were intentionally ignored while the bill was in conference. US Congressmen understood.
Dial is reported as saying in the Christian Science Monitor:
“There are things in the law we just didn’t see,”
Even a cursory reading of the bill would reveal all the above or the following:
- “It gives the state too large a role in the daily lives of folks who’ve broken no laws.” – June 13
- The law burdened educators and would cause a chilling effect. – June 18
- There was collateral damage of a “right-to-work” list. – June 18, and June 15
- Alabama Immigration Bill opens the flood gates to, not only “fishing expeditions,” but suspicionless audits and spitefully initiated investigations. – June 17
In addition, before this bill passed, we saw what the Georgia bill (a tamer version of HB56) was doing to their farmers. Eight judges had struck down less severe yet similar legislation in Arizona, Utah, Georgia, and Indiana before the passage of this bill.
You could tell even Hammon, the bill sponsor, did not know the contents of the bill. Additional time for reflection would not have changed anything; even after being shown problems with the law, GOP legislators only became more resolved condescendingly telling “liberals” to “read the bill” and “read the bill.”
Every time I see a major news clip of dogs attacking protesters in Birmingham [from the civil rights era], even though we’re way beyond that, this bill drags us back into that hole. It’s opened up a window that we didn’t need. I’m a big enough guy to say I made a mistake and that I’ll do everything I can do to correct it.
Now, the GOP merely smells political backlash from this irresponsible and immoral legislation. There are a lot more of those farmers like those that appeared on Rock Center and those farmers have families that vote. Dial is reported as saying:
Senator Dial says it’s primarily complaints from constituents – farmers, doctors, lawyers, and contractors among them – that are driving him to alter the law by Christmas. Among the bill’s requirements that Dial wants to change:
- A requirement that mandates proof of legal residence or citizenship for every transaction with the state and local government.
- Requirements that force, for example, pharmacists to check the residency status of specific suppliers, which promises to create an avalanche of new paperwork.
- Requiring that “officers of the court” report illegal immigrants, which means that lawyers may have to break confidentiality agreements with their clients.
- Dial says he wants to add a “good samaritan” clause so people who help illegal immigrants out of charity – such as at a soup kitchen – aren’t in danger of being arrested for a felony.
- He also wants to take out a provision where schools check the immigration status of new students, the fount of much of the criticism of the law.
If Sen. Dial wants to avoid the image that he and this GOP Legislature has evoked, he needs to support Sen. Beasley’s legislation to repeal HB56 and start over.