Immigration should make us look in mirror

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 5, 2011

“What kind of people are we?”

That was the headline of a Huntsville Times editorial earlier this week on the mess that is Alabama’s new immigration law. In effect for less than a week after a federal judge allowed its implementation, already, a myriad of problems we hope were not the intent of the Alabama legislature have occurred as a result.

As predicted in this space and in other editorial spaces across the state in the months since our newly-Republican legislature passed this bill, Alabama is again being decried as a racist state. In Baldwin County, school officials were in crisis mode last week, comforting small children – many of whom are legal residents – who were afraid to go to school. The law requires school systems to “document” illegal residents.

Substantial numbers of children already have been withdrawn from public schools and absentees were at all-time highs because of fears created by the law.

Late last week, Alabama Power told at least one family whose electricity had been disconnected that it could not restore power unless they could provide proof of lawful residence in the United States, reported.

And even the unemployed American workers are unwilling to take the hard labor jobs being abandoned by Hispanics who fear what life now looks like in Alabama.

Legislative leaders say they’ll look at some changes to the law, but not many or major ones.

They should reconsider.

Here it the Bible belt, we don’t profess to be people who scare young children, refuse services to paying customers, or mistreat others because of their race. Yet an overwhelming majority of Alabamians supports the bill.

Which begs the original question. What kind of people are we, really?