Immigration law affecting tourism, too

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 3, 2012

If we hadn’t already heard enough reasons the controversial immigration law passed by Alabama last year is bad, yesterday, a national medical group cancelled its plans to hold a meeting in Mobile because of the controversial law.

The Association of Departments of Family Medicine had asked for reassurances from Mobile, and received several letters assuring that organization’s board of directors that despite the reputation perpetuated by the actions of Alabama’s legislature last year, Mobile was indeed a warm and welcoming place.

While the association would not release the details of how many people it had expected to bring tourist dollars to Alabama, the actions of this group begs the question of how many meeting planners didn’t even consider Alabama because of this issue.

Even as the medical group made its decision, the immigration law was undergoing review by a federal appeals court in Atlanta on Thursday, pitting Alabama against the U.S. Justice Department and a coalition of civil rights groups.

Some members of the legislature have conceded that the law needs to be “tweaked.”

We say it needs much more than tweaking. We should mind our Southern manners and hospitable reputation before we roll out the “unwelcome” mat to any more tourists.

Surely, Alabama has learned its lesson by now. Must the federal courts always remind us to be nice to people?