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 12th (it came out in 2015), 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.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pushback on the Alabama Anti-Immigrant Law

In June, the governor of Alabama signed into law one of the country's toughest pieces of legislation targeting undocumented immigrants in the U.S. Now, according to the NY Times, people are starting to push back against it, as best they can.
On a sofa in the hallway of his office here, Mitchell Williams, the pastor of First United Methodist Church, announced that he was going to break the law. He is not the only church leader making such a declaration these days.Thousands of protesters have marched. Anxious farmers and contractors have personally confronted their lawmakers. The American Civil Liberties Union and other civil rights groups have sued, and have been backed by a list of groups including teachers’ unions and 16 foreign countries. Several county sheriffs, who will have to enforce parts of the new law, have filed affidavits supporting the legal challenges.
An Episcopal bishop, a Methodist bishop and a Roman Catholic archbishop, all based in Alabama, sued on the basis that the new statute violated their right to free exercise of religion, arguing that it would “make it a crime to follow God’s command to be Good Samaritans.”
“The law,” said Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi of Mobile, “attacks our core understanding of what it means to be a church.”

In one of the more bizarre parts of the law, it is now a crime in Alabama to give a ride to someone who is known to be an undocumented immigrant.
To some church leaders — who say they will not be able to give people rides, invite them to worship services or perform marriages and baptisms — the law essentially criminalizes basic parts of Christian ministry.

The U.S. government also thinks that the law overreaches a state's authority to legislate on such matters and has filed a suit against it.

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