Alabama recently followed in the footsteps of Arizona and Georgia in passing a strict immigration bill aimed at deterring illegal immigrants from settling in the state. This bill was passed shortly after the Supreme Court’s recent decision to uphold an Arizona law allowing the state to close the doors of businesses found guilty of hiring undocumented workers, and Georgia’s new immigration law that allows officers to question the immigration status of individuals suspected of committing crimes and fine or imprison those using false identification to obtain jobs. Alabama’s bill requires all immigrants to be documented, and obligates schools to collect citizenship information on students. Businesses must also enroll in the federal E-Verify program in order to ensure illegal immigrants are not being hired.
Among the concerns of civil rights groups is the new bill’s propensity to promote racial profiling. This concern stems from the potential ability for law enforcement to initiate citizenship investigations based on suspicion alone. Many wonder what parameters will be used to initiate such investigations – skin color? A notable accent? If police officers are found to be using these traits to request documentation from foreigners, questions regarding constitutionality and even lawsuits could arise.
What’s more, many immigrant families are now leaving all three of these states for those with more lenient laws, therefore, creating a gap in the workforce that Alabama, Georgia and Arizona employers (namely farmers) are anxious to fill. Those families new to the nation are also fearful of migrating to these areas, and so, a short-term solution aimed at filling the gaps is nearly impossible.
In short, legislators are not only passing bills that border on unconstitutional, but are closing their state’s borders to a capable workforce. This will inevitably hurt the whole U.S. economy in the long-run.