State Senate should kill immigration bill

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 9, 2011

We have to wonder if an immigration bill approved by the Alabama House of Representatives this week intentionally criminalizes Christianity.

The legislation imposes harsh penalties on employers who knowingly hire workers who are in the country illegally.

But the bill, which is modeled after a controversial Arizona law, also allows law enforcement agencies to arrest anyone who can’t prove they are legal residents of the United States.

Forget the wallet full of credit cards you carry; don’t pull out your driver’s license. None of those prove you’re a legal U.S. resident and without documentation, you could be jailed at any time.

While that could happen to anyone, it’s more likely to happen to persons who look Hispanic or speak little English. Proponents of the bill dismiss objections that the measure would encourage profiling, but that’s exactly the position the Legislature would force on law enforcement officers unless it requires that every person encountered by police be required to prove they’re in the country legally.

The bill also would make it a crime for you to give illegal immigrants a ride, even if they needed medical care, even if they needed groceries.

Perhaps the authors of the bill forgot the Gospel imperative to serve the poor: “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you welcomed me. I was naked, and you clothed me. I was sick, and you took care of me.”

The Alabama Senate should kill this bill which amounts not to good government, but to partisan posturing. Surely, we can address the immigration issue without that.