This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Friday, July 8, 2011

Alabama's Anti-Immigration Law Challenged in Court

The Southern Poverty Law Center has filed a lawsuit challenging Alabama's recently passed anti-immigration law that is set to take effect on September first. The law has been described by the director of the Center as making Arizona's law look like child's play. The New York Times has called it blatantly racist, and the Southern Poverty Law Center suggests that it hearkens back to the Jim Crow era because it will "create an underclass of people who are denied equal protection under the law, just like the racist laws that stained Alabama and the Deep South for many decades."

The lawsuit, filed in Huntsville, claims the new law will make criminals out of church workers who provide shelter to immigrants and even citizens who give their neighbors a ride to the store or to the doctor's office.
"This law interferes with the free exercise of religion. It criminalizes acts of love and hospitality," said Scott Douglas, executive director of Greater Birmingham Ministries.
The lawsuit said the measure goes well beyond similar laws passed in Arizona, Utah, Indiana and Georgia. Federal judges already have blocked all or parts of the laws in those states. It asks a judge to declare Alabama's law unconstitutional and prevent it from being enforced.
Alabama's law, which takes effect Sept. 1, allows police to arrest anyone suspected of being an illegal immigrant if the person is stopped for some other reason. It also requires businesses to check the legal status of new workers; makes it a crime to knowingly give a ride to an illegal immigrant; and makes it a crime for landlords to knowingly rent to illegal immigrants.

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