Human Rights Watch Highly Critical of Alabama’s Immigrant Law

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Human Rights Watch has published a report entitled “No Way to Live: Alabama’s Immigrant Law” which is highly critical of the “Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act.” Also known as the “Beason-Hammon Act”, “Alabama immigrant law”, or “HB 56”, the state began implementing the law on September 28, 2011. The bulk of the report focuses on the following four subject headings: “Impact of the Beason-Hammon Act on Access to Everyday Necessities”, “Denial of Equal Protection of the Law”, “Discriminatory Harassment and Abuse” and “Impact of the Beason-Hammon Act on Children.”

Human Rights Watch has provided recommendations (listed in full below) to the Alabama State Legislature, Governor and Attorney General as well as to all other state and local governments, the U.S. Congress and the President of the United States. Amongst the recommendations to the President is that he, “direct the Department of Homeland Security and other US agencies not to participate in the enforcement of the Alabama immigrant law, and, specifically, ensure that unauthorized immigrants arrested under the law are not placed in removal proceedings.”

Human Rights Watch Recommendations:

To the State of Alabama
To the Alabama State Legislature

1) Promptly repeal the Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, Act No. 2011-535.

To Alabama Governor Robert Bentley and Law Enforcement Officials
Even before repeal,

1) Direct all state and local officials to ensure all residents, regardless of immigration status, are able to access necessities like
water and housing.
2) Train local law enforcement on how to avoid illegal racial profiling and collect data on police stops and arrests to ensure
racial profiling is not occurring.

To Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange

1) Ensure that local and state officials implement policies in accordance with the attorney general’s guidance letters that more
narrowly interpret some provisions of the Beason-Hammon Act.

To All US State and Local Governments

1) Repeal or oppose efforts to enact legislation that would infringe upon the fundamental rights of unauthorized immigrants
guaranteed under the US constitution or international human rights law.

To the US Congress

1) Enact comprehensive immigration reform in keeping with US obligations under international human rights law.

To the US President

1) Direct the Department of Homeland Security and other US agencies not to participate in the enforcement of the Alabama immigrant law, and, specifically, ensure that unauthorized immigrants arrested under the law are not placed in removal proceedings.

2) Direct the Department of Justice to continue to vigorously investigate all allegations
of civil rights violations due to the Alabama law.

Article formerly posted at https://www.hsdl.org/blog/newpost/view/s_4416