Alabama’s controversial new immigration law, HB56, has immigrants running scared. The law states that the citizenship status of all public school students must be checked by school administration. This move caused two thousand children to be absent from school the day after it was passed. Immigrants are avoiding any activity requiring documentation, such as hospitalization, in fear of detainment and deportation.

In addition, law enforcement can even force ordinary citizens to provide documentation. This can be discriminatory as citizens are likely to be stopped based on merely how they look. Latinos, African Americans, Asian Pacific Islanders, and others who do not “look like” U.S. citizens are all unfairly targeted. Though the sections of the law regarding public education and random checks were blocked on October 14 due to the backlash by repulsed citizens, the fear remains. Who knows what kind of new rulings can come into effect if such prejudice is able to pass so easily into law? Alabama’s HB56 seems reminiscent of the 1963 Jim Crow laws that were passed half a century ago.

By: Carol Lee

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