I wrote on Sunday about my trials and tribulations regarding HB 56, the draconian anti-immigration law passed last year in Alabama. The local paper wrote a very nice editorial on Monday regarding the need for Alabama to wake up and smell the coffee. I have also had several conversations regarding the need for people who don’t “look American” to carry papers at all time to allow us to protect “our freedoms.”

What does an Alabama-American look like? Hard to say but apparently we are expected to carry proof if we anticipate enrolling a child in school, being in the car during a routine traffic stop, or a myriad of other activities. In lieu of a license  the law accepts “The applicant’s birth certificate that verifies United States citizenship to the satisfaction of the county election officer or Secretary of State.” My son was born in Hawaii. I wonder, is his Hawaiian birth certificate acceptable?

In the words of the head of Teachers Retirement of Alabama, David Bronner:

“What they did was put our state in the position of being by ourselves, and everybody watching,” he says. “We don’t need that considering our history with the civil rights era. We don’t need to be there. We need to be in the back, working on our growth.”

What people are seeing, as documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center, includes:

Tell Carmen Gonzalez of Foley that she doesn’t have anything to worry about. Gonzalez discovered a note in her vehicle’s floorboard telling her to “Go Back to Mexico.” Someone dropped it in the vehicle, apparently after noticing she had left a window cracked. Carmen is a Latina. She’s also a U.S. citizen.

Tell Enrique Corral that he doesn’t have anything to worry about. A cashier in suburban Birmingham singled him out to provide an “American ID” for a simple purchase. When the cashier didn’t ask the woman behind him for an “American ID,” the cashier told Corral that’s because she could tell the woman was American. Corral is Latino. He’s also American — a U.S. citizen, born and raised in Texas.

The argument that the law is directed to ALL undocumented residents is a little difficult to swallow if the SPLC is to be believed:

This law was forged within a legislative debate rife with stereotypes, misinformation, incendiary rhetoric and bigotry. The Senate sponsor, Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, said in a public meeting they needed to “empty the clip” to “deal” with immigrants. The House sponsor, Rep. Micky Hammon, R-Decatur, routinely conflated “Latino” with “illegal immigrant.”

Regardless, the problem will eventually solve itself. In the words of one commentator:

“You’ve either got to deal with the fastest growing demographic group in America, which will be the largest demographic group in America or you don’t.  You decide.  If you don’t want to deal with Hispanics, Republicans, move to New Zealand because that’s the only place you’re going to win elections in the next 20 years.”

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