In Passing Law Targeting Immigrants, Alabama Contradicts Own State Constitution

Funny thing about strict constructionists, they only want to strictly construe when it is in their interest.

Alabama’s anti-immigrant law is the subject of three lawsuits. One, by the federal government, says Alabama is violating the Constitution’s grant of the immigration power to Congress by creating its own immigration laws. A second suit, by a coalition of churches, says Alabama’s prohibition on giving aid to undocumented immigrants interferes with the 1st Amendment’s right to the free exercise of religion. The churches say that the law interferes with their ability to provide charity to the needy, regardless of legal status, since charity is mandated by the Bible and many other religious texts. Translation: Alabama wants to make Christian charity a crime.

A third suit says the state legislature is violating Alabama’s own state constitution. Article 1 Section 30 of the state constitution says that “immigration shall be encouraged” by the state. The new law, which has already driven thousands of Latinos out of the Alabama, hardly encourages immigration. Some state legislators are saying they will draft a constitutional amendment to end that mandate.

Perhaps it will simply read “Immigration? Fuggedaboutit.”

Image courtesy of pamhule via Flickr.

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Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is the Downstate Advocacy Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra School of Law. He served as the Director of Legal Services and Program at Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) for three decades before retiring in 2019. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.