Another Republican Governor Does Something About Illegals

by Joe Guzzardi

Last month, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed legislation (HB 56) that requires the use of E-Verify by all state employers. The law also gives Alabama some of the country’s strongest illegal-immigration enforcement tools.

Over the last decade, illegal immigration has increased in Alabama by 325 percent.

In a statement that underlines how over-immigration hurts American workers State Senator Scott Beason, a HB 56 cosponsor, said, “This is a jobs bill. We have a problem with an illegal workforce that displaces Alabama workers. We need to put those people back to work. That’s the No.1 priority.”

Another supporter, Republican state Rep. John Merrill said he didn’t hesitate to back the legislation because it is “good for Alabama” and will reduce illegal immigration into the state while “providing equal opportunities for all because who want to come to Alabama legally.” HB 56 requires all businesses, public and private, to begin using E-Verify effective April 1, 2012. Businesses that do not comply face suspension of their license and loss of employee expensing for state income tax purposes.

Other features of HB 56 will create misdemeanors for hiring day-laborers when Americans are available, failing to carry an alien registration card, producing fake ID and aiding and abetting illegal immigrants. It also will ban illegal aliens from attending state universities and colleges as well as prohibit sanctuary city policies.

In an effort to determine what the exact costs are of education for illegal alien children, HB 56 requires elementary and secondary schools to request a birth certificate for all enrolling students. That provision will enable Alabama to determine whether such minors were born outside of the U.S. or are children of illegal aliens requiring English-as-a-Second-language classes.

Detractors like the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center’s legal director Mary Bauer quickly labeled HB 56 “mean-spirited, racist, unconstitutional and going to be costly.”

But Bauer and others who oppose strong immigration enforcement measures are tilting at windmills. Enforcement is high on the list of states’ government priorities. As many as 30 are considering or currently drafting legislation similar to Alabama’s for the simple reason that they are broke and can no longer afford to provide services and jobs to illegal aliens. Rep. Micky Hammon, the measure’s original sponsor, added that the bill was carefully drafted to be sound constitutionally. Challenges to the Arizona E-Verify law may have encouraged Alabama’s meticulous care in determining its language.

More important, two recent Supreme Court decisions have upheld states’ rights to enforce immigration laws. In 5-3 decisions, the high court sided with Arizona and Hazleton (PA.) by allowing enforcement of local laws that prohibit employers from knowingly hiring illegal aliens and confirmed that state governments can force the use of E-Verify even though Congress has never mandated its use.

About the court’s decision last month on the Arizona case, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote: “(Federal law) expressly reserves to the states the authority to impose sanctions on employers hiring unauthorized workers, through licensing and similar laws. In exercising that authority, Arizona has taken the route least likely to cause tension with federal law.”

With the handwriting on the wall, business lobbies like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce should work with Congress for a national bill instead of allowing each state to have its own version of E-Verify legislation.

Joe Guzzardi has written editorial columns—mostly about immigration and related social issues – since 1986. He is a senior writing fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) and his columns have frequently been syndicated in various U.S. newspapers and websites. He can be reached at

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7 Responses to Another Republican Governor Does Something About Illegals

  1. Ridge Runner says:

    The people that are curantly in the gov are not governing in compliance of the constution. they Have passed laws that benifit them and special interest groups .Now they are just about doing as they damn well please. This illegal pres and his out law cabinet and too damn many of the reps that the misguided ppeople let get into office is tring to put our country down and put it under this one world government to be run by the u.n. .It is the same bunch of crooks and thugs that have more or less been running the world they are now just wanting total control over the p;anet and the inhabinets and total say about how many and which ones will be here .Wake up people before it is too late .

  2. Ridge Runner says:

    These people coming through mexico and from mexico that are not here legaly should be deported and on the first load load obama and his illegal crew .If we can get rid of him it will be easer to stem this flow of illegals. Some of these people need help and the best way i think we could help them and mexico is go clean out their corrupt government but, first we need to clean up our own back yard. While we are deporting these illegals it might help the u.s. to load up some of our undissirables to go along with them.

  3. Bowmanave says:

    The Governor is privy to information that I do not have access to. Nor for that matter, does anyone else on this board.

    I do know though that a recent stop by the AZ Dept of Public Safety, where a "bunch" of illegals were found lying down in a pickup truck bed (and covered over), the illegals were carrying drugs. Was this what Brewer was referencing? I don't know – perhaps it is.

    The point is, drugs have been found on illegal immigrants being smuggled into the US through Arizona.

  4. NoSuchThingAsAn says:

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  6. Tannu says:

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  7. Linda says:

    Go, Alabama! I only wish other states would follow your example. Especially in Oregon, where I live. But this is a blue state, so not much hope of that happening.

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