Raquel Benson is a Senior Contributor to TDA, a journalism student, humanist, and artist with issues of chronic imagination. She may be brash, but it stems from a deeper concern for the world around her.
As of September 1, 2011, it is a crime to exist as an undocumented immigrant in the state of Alabama. This law encroaches upon fundamental human rights in that it criminalizes the act of working or even renting a home as an undocumented person. While this type of legislation robs real people of their own liberties, it unfortunately maintains significant backing by Alabama officials. The law is so offensive that it has caught the concern of four prominent Alabama church leaders who say that it “Criminalizes acts of Christian compassion.” The legislature is working its hardest not only turning so many hard working people into criminals, but also to regulate and enforce the new law on a more macro level. By doing this, the state of Alabama holds businesses responsible for the hiring of undocumented persons and even forces the public school systems to screen their students for documentation—no papers, no education.
Luckily, the law has not flown under the radar of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Justice Department, as both organizations have sued Alabama for their violation of U.S constitutional rights. It’s a touchy subject for a state like Alabama, of all places, to be enforcing such a law—Have they forgotten their reputation? Have they forgotten the Fugitive Slave Act? While the state is unapologetic and unbending on their new law, many Americans recognize the obvious injustice that will affect so many struggling families. Hopefully, within time, states like Alabama will wake up and realize how fundamentally un-American they really are.
Read more at the New York Times.