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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


woody36060 said...


Dear Friends,

We thought it was over when the Senate approved the Senate Sub to HB 658 by overwhelming numbers, followed by the House concurrence, also by overwhelming numbers, and the bill was sent to the Governor for signature. It hit a snag. The Governor is threatening to veto the immigration bill. He needs to hear from us!

The Governor has two concerns, according to his press release.

1. SCHOOL POLICY: The Governor believes that the Senate Sub to HB 658 "calls for school children to be interrogated about immigration status." This accusation was repeatedly made by Democrats during the floor debates BUT this language is nowhere in the bill, nor is it implied.

2. PUBLICATION OF NAMES OF ILLEGAL ALIENS WHO HAVE BEEN ARRESTED: The Governor does not want the names of illegal aliens who "have had various matters before the courts" published. He believes that since the purpose of the law is to gather data and statistics, this can be done in another way that doesn't include names. While this is laudable, names under the law are already public information, and we don't feel this is cause to veto the bill.

We therefore request the Governor to SIGN THE IMMIGRATION BILL and stay true to his campaign promise to support a strong immigration law. The Senate Sub to HB 658 is such a bill; whereas HB 658 contained significant loopholes and exemptions for businesses who exploit both illegal labor and taxpayers and forces the state to subsidize unlawful employers who hire illegal labor by an estimated $400 million every year in welfare/social costs to illegal aliens. The state cannot afford this! The Governor has cut budgets across the board 20-25%, teachers are being laid by the hundreds, and Medicaid is $200 million in the red. Bills that raised revenue in this legislative session will impact taxpayers/families.

Alabama needs an immigration law that "tweaks" to clarify some provisions for law enforcement, businesses, and church-affiliated groups. The Senate Sub to HB 658 does that. If the Governor vetoes the bill, Alabama will not have the tweaks he says is necessary to clarify and enforce HB 56.

Please contact Governor Bentley immediately and ask that he SIGN THE IMMIGRATION BILL! Legislators have worked hard to reach a compromise they can live with. Citizens support this compromise. Illegal aliens which left our state in droves when HB 56 was implemented are returning and bringing their friends because the state signaled that our law was going to be weakened and not be enforced. A veto would only reinforce this belief.

EMAIL: http://governor.alabama.gov/contact/contact_form.aspx (Can be sent immediately)
PHONE: 334/242-7100 (The switchboard is open M-F)
FAX: 334/353-0004

IMMENSE THANKS! ONE MORE PUSH TO CLAIM VICTORY! You've worked extremely hard and performed what some thought "impossible"! Please make one more contact to make all the others worthwhile! Victory is one phone call, one fax, or one email away!

woody36060 said...

If the comment posted here seems contradictory to the information about HB658 as published in the first message, allow me to clarify.
After much work and debate on the issues, HB658 (the original) was passed by the House and sent to the Senate. Senator Scott Beason and his supporters were able to supplement the language of SB541 (a much more acceptable amendment to HB56 law) into HB658. The amended HB658 was then approved by the Senate and sent back to the House. Both bodies overwhelmingly approved the new bill and passed it on to the Governor for his signature.

woody36060 said...

VICTORY AT LAST! Governor Signs Immigration Bill.
You are all probably aware that WE WON BIG -- against great odds, against powerful interests! I've been traveling the past two days so I haven't had easy access to Internet.
An amazing, awesome victory -- and YOU made it happen! We fought BCA, we fought House leadership, and it looks like from the referenced article below, we fought the
Governor, who wanted amendments but the fireworks you rained down on Montgomery left the House and Senate with no appetite to once again face committedactivists! What
an experience and I hope you all feel empowered and emboldened! I'm so proud of all of you and the team that was forged! I hope to stay engaged with you all to foster good
government and to hold elected officials accountable to their campaign promises.

Thanks for pushing one more time and claiming complete victory!


bhawesh said...

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