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We The People Speak Out...

Monday, April 30, 2012


On May 1, 2012 the Alabama Senate is scheduled to vote on "reforming" the Illegal Immigration law in this state.  Here is an open letter to the Senators of this state urging them NOT to emasculate our current law.

***Please Read and Forward***

Dear Republican Senators,
The  public is puzzled about what seems to be a mentality to circle the wagons against the people back home.  Not one person has risen to support HB 658 in public hearings -- not even the several lobbyists present would publicly support it.  Yet every Republican except two in a House floor vote (Kerry Rich of Albertville and Wes Long of Guntersville) and every Republican on a Senate committee voted for this bill to massively hollow out HB 56.  It seems that the Republican caucuses are resolved to represent a narrow faction of the Party and to move away from a basic promise made to their constituents when they were elected.  This is not good for our Party!  
We know you are overloaded and overworked this session.  But while many bills are being passed, no other bill will be as noticed by constituents and as reported on by the press as the immigration bill that gets final passage.  Something like 20 conservative organizations across this state are on record opposing HB 658 because it would turn the strongest immigration bill in the country into the weakest.  This is not good for Alabama! 
The purpose of this email:  (1) To urge you not to vote on any bill until the U.S. Supreme Court rules, probably in June; but if a vote is forced, then to substitute SB 541 for HB 658 and approve it.  (2) To expose the propaganda that's flying out of Montgomery that HB 658 strengthens our current law by listing just a few loopholes and exemptions that nullify the intent of HB56. 
The stated purpose of HB 658 was to clarify language so Alabama could resolve the three sections of HB 56 that were enjoined and the law could be quickly enforced.  Yet 22 of the 34 sections of HB 56 have been massively changed, most to make enforcement unlikely or impossible. You don't have time to give the attention needed to understand how HB 658 compares to HB 56 or SB 541, so we've asked an expert immigration attorney with FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform) to provide a summary of the three bills.  This summary can be read in three minutes and is attached.  We are convinced you cannot defend or vote for HB 658 if you are fully aware of some of the loopholes and exemptions.  For example: 
     *  HB 658 strikes the requirement that law officers determine citizenship and immigration status of a person during any lawful stop or detention when there is reasonable suspicion that the person is unlawfully in the U.S.  Now it  appears the U.S. Supreme Court may well UPHOLD this provision in the original HB 56.
     *  HB 658 repeals the provision that makes it a crime to encourage/induce illegal aliens to move to/remain in Alabama.   Yet federal law clearly prohibits "encouraging or inducing aliens to come to or reside in the United States." 
     *  HB 658 adds exclusion for churches or church-related organizations so they can knowingly conceal, harbor or shield aliens.   There is exemption in federal law for bona fide nonprofit religious groups, but the exception in HB 658 is much broader and goes beyond that which is exempt under federal law.
     *  HB 658 restricts definitions of "contractor" and "state-funded entity" to mean only entities that receive more than 50% total revenue (within the last three years) from public funds.   HB 56 prohibits hiring of any unauthorized aliens and requires all contractors to use E-Verify.
     *  HB 658 strikes authority for private citizens to sue state officials responsible for but who refuse to enforce the law to prevent Alabama from becoming a sanctuary state.  Giving deciding authority to only DA/AG makes non-enforcement a virtual certainty considering (1) loopholes/exemptions of HB 658, (2) scarce prosecutorial resources, and (3) the House of Representatives last week approved a zero-fund budget for the AG's office due to severe budget shortages.
     *  HB 658 raises the bar of proof prohibitively high for employees to prove employers fired/replaced them with illegal aliens so that employers now get virtual immunity for doing so.
     *  HB 658 removes the permanent revocation of business licenses upon the second violation.  Employers cannot be penalized if second and third violations are not within 5 years of the first.
     *  HB 658 ties the hands of courts to penalize employers upon conviction (after spending scarce resources to investigate/bring to trial).  It requires courts to consider (1) number of illegal aliens employed; (2) prior misconduct by employer; (3) good faith efforts; (4) duration of violation; (5) role of high level employees in violation; and (6) whether an exception should be made not to suspend the business license if the project is in the public interest.
Please represent all your constituents on Tuesday and not a factional interest.  We hope you will take no vote until after the U.S. Supreme Court rules.  But if a vote is taken, we hope you will vote no on HB 658 and yes on SB 541.
Elois Zeanah