In Ala., Giving an Illegal a Ride Could Become Illegal Under Crackdown Bill

Wednesday, 11 May 2011 03:16 PM

By Martin Gould

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Alabama drivers who give an illegal immigrant a ride could be prosecuted under a tough new bill that is likely to land on Gov. Robert Bentley’s desk. The bill also would make it a crime for an illegal immigrant to apply to get married in the state, as all licenses, including those for hunting, fishing, and business, would be off limits for those in the country without permission, the Southeast Sun reports.

And school children could be banned from sports, clubs, and even the prom as “participation in any extracurricular activity outside of the basic course of study” would be outlawed.

Legislation has passed through Alabama’s House and Senate, and now a conference committee will resolve differences between the bills before it goes to Bentley for his signature. The main differences center on punishments and whether employers have to use the E-verify system to check the status of employees.

Sponsors of the bills are optimistic they can get agreement. “Our leadership in the House and Senate is committed to passing a tough immigration bill this year,” said Republican Rep. Micky Hammon.

Republican Sen. Scott Beason, who is sponsoring the bill in the Senate, said: "The goal of this bill is to have attrition of illegal immigrants in Alabama through enforcement."

Beason described the proposed law as a “jobs bill,” noting that 9 percent of Alabamians are unemployed. “We can put more people back to work than any other jobs bill in Alabama just by doing something about illegal immigration," he said.

The toughness of the bill upsets liberals in the state, who say they will challenge its legality in the courts, if necessary. Antonio Ginatta of Human Rights Watch attacked the portion of the legislation dealing with schools. “Keep the prom out of it,” he pleaded in an Op-Ed piece in the Birmingham News.

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