Monday, November 14, 2011

Alabama Immigration Law

As someone who was raised in the South and has a (part-time) career as an ESL/ESOL teacher, the recent issues surrounding the new immigration law in Alabama literally make my stomach turn.  Literally.  


My parents and many of their friends may be concerned about unauthorized/undocumented immigrants, but they are not necessarily in favor of this law.  I am deeply comforted by the active role the Catholic Church (and other clergy and churches) have taken in opposing this law.  It is a regular notation in church bulletins and after Communion announcements in Catholic churches across the state.


The Alabama farm economy, many of them family owned farms, is already suffering and the problem is only going to get worse.  The fact is that many unauthorized/undocumented immigrants come from countries where hard scrabble farming is what feeds their families, and they are willing to do this sort of manual labor.  Politicians in favor of the immigration law theorize that getting the unauthorized/undocumented immigrants out of the state will result in job openings for citizens and that the citizens will take these jobs, show up on time, and do an honest day's work.  I just don't think that's going to happen, and several farmers interviewed for articles in the popular media and Catholic press agree.  I would agree that the growing numbers of unauthorized/undocumented immigrants present a challenge (and in some cases, a problem) for our country.  


I do not know what the magic answer is - but I do know that making children scared to attend school, or making their parents fear taking their child to an emergency room is not a solution.


The New York Times just published an editorial on the civil rights opposition to the law.  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/14/opinion/on-the-rise-in-alabama.html

The Washington Post published an editorial on how the law is hurting the farm economy.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/how-alabamas-immigration-law-is-crippling-its-farms/2011/11/01/gIQAg0JvjM_story.html


Monte Sano State Park, near Huntsville, Alabama

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