Alabama Immigration Law More Strict Than Previously
Just one day after he called a special session to encourage the Legislature in Alabama to make new important changes to the immigration law in the state, Governor Robert Bentley signed into law the bill on Friday nonetheless.
The decision by the governor was probably the quickest of a number of reversals that took place in recent weeks, as Montgomery politicians debated whether changes were needed in the immigration enforcement legislation, considered by some to be the most sweeping and strictest in the nation.
Just weeks ago, the legislature looked poised to pass a bill making many changes to the original one that were aimed at addressing the complaints by local law enforcement, legal residents in Alabama and business groups. However, over the last couple of sessions, which terminated on Wednesday, another version of the legislation started to take shape. The new version preserved much more of the first law and included additional controversial provisions such as requiring the name of all illegal immigrants, who appear in court due to a violation of a state law to be published by the state.
Following the passage of that bill, the Governor added the law to a list of topics for lawmakers to consider during a special session that started on Thursday. He declined to sign the new bill and personally recommended the legislature revisit the new provision that concerned the illegal immigrants having their names published and another provision that had been in the original law that required schools to confirm the legal immigration status of students who were enrolled.
Lawmakers responded by filling bills with the identical content as the previous one, but requiring photos of the immigrants to be published along with their names. The governor said he had concerns about the bill, but went ahead and signed saying the legislature was not interested in making any further amendments at that time.