New immigration laws in Alabama aim to decrease its population of illegal immigrants, after the state experienced a 67% increase in its foreign born population in the last decade.
Like many changes to immigration policies, the new law is controversial- for example, state and local officials now have the ability to check the citizenship of students in public schools and even detain them. Other recent policies require proof of citizenship to register a vehicle, or obtain a handicap license plate, among other items. The law also outlawed hiring, renting to, or transporting illegal immigrants.
Alabama authorities and residents report mixed results from the changes. School districts have reported a decrease in the number of Hispanic students attending school each day, which has some worried for the already-existing educational gap between ethnic groups. Others have found that the new policies cause hassles in local government in already-frustrating locations, like the DMV. Still others have found the new policies to be discriminatory.
However, many unemployed Alabama residents saw positive changes. Unemployment dropped .6% in the month of November, after many illegal immigrants lost their jobs due to the new policies- jobs that were filled by American citizens.
A Republican Representative is reported as saying that the law aims to make life so miserable that illegal Hispanics will leave.
What do you think? Is the law a move in the right direction? As readers of Enrique’s Journey, we may also wonder: is “miserable” life in Alabama still an improvement over the poverty and starvation that Enrique and Lourdes faced in Honduras? Leave a comment and let us know!