By Madison Waldie Posted December 14, 2011
Is it possible to take immigration restrictions too far? In the opinions of many people, one state in our nation has done just that. The Alabama state legislature passed a controversial new immigration bill on June 9 that requires public schools to check students’ immigration status, criminalizes giving an undocumented immigrant a ride requires employers to use E-Verify to check potential employees’ status, and instructs police to check the immigration status of anyone they stop if they suspect the person of being an illegal immigrant.
The Alabama government discourages children of illegal immigrants to attend school, because it is expensive and although attendance is not prohibited for such students; school districts are mandated to submit annual tallies on the suspected number of illegal immigrants when making reports to state education officials. Thus finding out which children are illegal and setting these students up for discrimination and judgment from peers and teachers.
Not only is this stopping the education that the child should receive but holds that child back from one day becoming a productive member of our society. Without schooling, a person will never be able to get a decent job, and without a job, that individual will not be able to pay taxes to the government. This is a vicious cycle.
Although many people see Alabama’s law, HB 56, as a preventative measure, others see it as a step backward. Birmingham is the center of Alabama and was the center of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s. The same place that men and women gave their lives to be treated fairly is the same place that this law has been signed, taking opportunities away from people that are trying to better their lives by going to school and contributing their skills to the workforce.
Citizens of Birmingham seem to feel the same way.
“Not only a civil rights but a human rights issue. It’s supposed to be the land of opportunities and you’re breaking up families, you’re destroying families,” said a citizen of Birmingham, Alabama. “But not just immigrants. It’s also affecting the people they work for. To me, it’s a disgrace how they’ve handled this. It’ll result in racial profiling. And yes, it’s a civil rights crisis because a lot of civil rights will be violated because of this law,” he continued. (Elizabeth Stuart, Deseret News)
Once again, illegal immigration is wrong, but when a family is already here and they are using their talents and skills to benefit our society, I personally do not think that they should be deported. These people should be treated differently than the individuals that are committing unlawful acts. As a nation, we have closed our minds to the idea of Mexicans living and working in the U.S. because of their stereotypes as ‘thugs’ and ‘gangsters’. We rarely take time to think about the successful citizens who came here as immigrants, or the men and women her living without citizenship, but benefiting our communities. I never thought that I personally would think that immigration restrictions could be taken too far, but America has always been known as the “Land of Dreams” and I don’t think that should change.