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Bishop calls Ala. immigration law nation’s ‘meanest’

By GREG GARRISON
c. 2011 Religion News Service

(BIRMINGHAM) A new Alabama law that makes it a crime to offer rides to undocumented immigrants is the “meanest” immigration law in the country, according to a United Methodist bishop and respected theologian.

Bishop William Willimon of the North Alabama Conference called the bill, which was recently signed into law by Gov. Robert Bentley, an embarrassment and motivated by “intimidation and meanness.”

Willimon and the state’s other United Methodist bishop, Paul Leeland, wrote an open letter to Bentley and lawmakers who pushed the law, and also plan a vigil on June 25 to pray for immigrants.

“There’s a lot of frustration out there, disappointment, embarrassment,” Willimon said. “We will come together and pray.”

The law includes a provision that makes it illegal to knowingly hire or give a ride to an illegal immigrant. A church volunteer who gives someone a ride to the doctor could be prosecuted, Willimon noted.

“One of the most nefarious aspects of this law is it appears to criminalize Alabamians in the act of being helpful and compassionate,” he said, calling the claim that an immigration crackdown will create jobs “particularly repugnant.”

Willimon said relief efforts following devastating tornadoes across the state have been hampered, with Spanish-speaking residents “reluctant to receive aid” out of fear of deportation.

“One thing our church is hoping to show our Spanish-speaking friends is that this law is not in our spirit,” Willimon said. “We want the world to know that this does not represent the best of Alabama.”

(Greg Garrison writes for The Birmingham News)



  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment pagansister

    Having spent from the age of 11 to 24 living in the state and having parents who made Birmingham their home for 40 years, until they died, and a sister who is still living in Birmingham—-all I can say is—Alabama is once again in the news—and not in a good way. Pictures of what happened in the 1960′s with integration etc. are still shown every year. Yep! Alabama shines yet again. There are many reasons I would never live there again.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Chris Miller

    And I thought that Georgia (my home state) was bad. How can we truly live the ten commandments and the gospel’s call to love and serve one another while abiding laws which serve to discriminate and persecute our brothers and sisters?

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Grumpy Old Person

    Hey, it’s Alabama. They were the State that took from 1967 (when Loving v. Virginia was decided) until 2000 to ‘allow’ inter-racial marriage in their State. (And even then, fully 40% of the citizens were agin’ it.)

    Why is ANYONE surprised and the backward meanness from there?

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment pagansister

    GOP: I’m sure no one is surprised. I’m not.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Dave Francis

    ATTRITION BY ENFORCEMENT

    Republican lawmakers Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has filed bills in Congress, after promising they would push for a national–MANDATORY–E-Verify, also called the “Legal Workforce Act.” It would require all US businesses to verify workers’ legal status through the Social Security database linked to the US Immigration and Citizenship Services. It would restrain unlawful immigration and bring jobs back to citizens and legal residents. It seems that the special interests are fearful of the imminent consequences of this law, because it would curb the open border mentality of the majority of Liberals, Democrats and a few Republicans. The bill is obviously being criticized by Hispanic and ethnic advocates, who are saying that the database was costly to run and generated errors, hence exasperating prejudice against legal workers whose personal data is comparable to illegal aliens using false ID.

    Hispanics of legal status need not worry as E-Verify serves them as well as every America of any race? It takes just a few minutes to use and easily verify 99.5% percent of work-eligible employees. Others with ID irregularities receive a referral letter to resolve the problem at the SSA office. There is no other legislation that can be enacted that will generate more jobs for American labor. In actual fact there is no expenditures to the business world and as for irregularities, there is no high level of problems, as new innovations are being added to cross-reference who has a right to a job? Seeing so much business lobbyists as support for E-Verify is a positive signal at a hearing of the House immigration subcommittee. Companies have implored the Washington leadership to force their competitors to stop employing foreign labor, moreover having taxpayers subsidize their upkeep. Incidentally–when does a foreign nation have a right to interrupt laws, to protect the majority of the US population from illegal foreign invaders? Next thing we know the Liberal Progressives and Obama’s Czars will be pushing our court system to recognize “Sheria” Muslim law; God help Us.

    The bill would also make the E-Verify program permanent and in addition re-establish the no-match letter program. It assists in identifying the 8 million illegal immigrants that are presently hired in non-farming employment. E-Verify within two years of enactment would enforce Zero-Tolerance laws on this bad business practice. Large company owners, federal, state, and municipal agencies and federal and state contractors would need to abide by these rules within six months. Here is a very good chance now for the passage of this law, that business owners, who try to bamboozle the immigration system, will be held accountable with harsh sanctions. In many ways this is monumental because Republicans normally will demean any new laws that cut off their access to the illegal alien workforce. But with 9 percent of Americans not employed, perhaps millions more working temporary or part-time larger numbers far exceed the government statistics they better show some humble pie.

    Notably the Liberals and Democrats are still insisting that E-Verify doesn’t work, or preaching that it will cause racial profiling. For decades now we have accepted there “political Correct” ideology, which we have all had to stomach? Ask the families of the 9/11 mayhem, that if the police had a right to question those Middle East murderers, the near 3000 death toll may never have happened at the World Trade center. If law enforcement were debilitated in asking questions, the terrible catastrophe may have been avoided? To compliment E-Verify we should demand “The Secure Communities” mandated as well. These enforcement programs installed will begin the reduction of illegal aliens in this country and the millions of others thinking about the illegal trek from whether they come from? Americans can assist Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas and Sen. Chuck Grassley, demanding from both Federal and State senators to Mandate both E-Verify and Secure Communities at Senate—202-224–3121/ House—202-225–3121.

    REMEMBER THAT THE ESTIMATE OF 8 MILLION ILLEGAL ALIENS ARE WORKING IN THIS NATION, WHICH IS A SERIOUS SITUATION FOR THE MILLIONS OF JOBLESS CITIZENS AND LAWFUL RESIDENTS. ARIZONA, ALABAMA, GEORGIA HAVE ENACTED POLICING LAWS, SO THEY ARE NOW OBSERVING THE MASS DEPARTURES OF FOREIGN NATIONALS.

    According to NumbersUSA The Legal Workforce Act (H.R.2164) would: Phase in E-Verify over three years, starting with the largest companies first.

    * Require the Social Security Administration (SSA) to target illegal aliens using fake social security numbers by sending out “no match” letters to employers if the name and social security number of a current employee do not match. Requires the employer to check those employees through E-Verify after receiving a “no match” letter.
    *
    * Require SSA to send a yearly notification to each owner of a social security number that has multiple employers reporting income to that number indicating that the number may have been stolen and is being used by illegal aliens. Requires employers to run through E-Verify those employees who are likely to have stolen the number from the legitimate owner.
    *
    * Establish a phone verification system as an alternative to using the electronic system.
    *
    * Require the use of E-Verify for those contracted at day labor sites and other referral or recruitment services.
    *
    * Protect employers who use the system in good faith from liability if the system makes an error on eligibility.
    *
    * Protect states’ and localities’ authority to revoke business licenses of employers who fail to use E-Verify as required by this Act.
    *
    * Significantly increases the penalties for employers who refuse to use the system, or who intentionally try to game it. The fines levied can be up to $25,000 per unauthorized worker and a minimum one-year prison sentence may be imposed on an employer who engages in a “pattern or practice” of violations.
    *
    * Require SSA to lock the use of social security numbers when it is being used by someone other than the rightful owner, when the owner has violated immigration laws and been ordered to leave the country, or when the owner’s temporary visa has expired.

    Once Secure Communities becomes the policing companion of E-Verify immigration laws, then we can further slow the massive costs associated with the annual flow 300.000 instant babies, who parents intentionally enter America taking advantage of the welfare system. As in conclusion, we must lock the border down and stop the unfettered rush of legal immigration. We must track persons who enter America by other means, to make sure they depart when the visa expires. All immigration must be cut and only the most highly skilled available outside this country, should be given a visa; not the semi-skilled? Those under the Washington Rotunda should further commit themselves, to authoring new laws. Such a uniform “quota system” that only allows a reasonable amount of new immigrants from countries around the world, or a points system as in Europe that only allows persons of the highest qualifications and personal background through the open door.

    We cannot meet the expense in pandering to the endless flow of poverty into this nation anymore, as to repeat that we have countless amounts of homeless, disabled and penniless veterans, the sick and the mentally ill. They need our dollars first and not foreign nationals. TEA PARTY Chairperson Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota has joined the Presidential race and is adamantly opposed to any Immigration reform package. The 1986 Immigration amnesty was a dead loss, as it was never enforced and was rife with fraud, costing eventually $76 Billion dollars. The Liberal progressives or the dark side of the Democratic Party are silent about the final expenditure, to enact an amnesty today. The heritage Foundation has accessed it at $2.5 Trillion dollars, that it’s incomprehensible when America is riding on a dead horse-deficit of $14.5 Trillion dollars and racing towards a cliff. Connect with the Tea Party today and add your name to the tens of millions of legal people, from every race and political party, disheartened with the path Washington has followed.

    No Copyright. Distribute Freely.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Mordred08

    When is Alabama being in the news ever a good thing?

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Kathleen

    There is nothing more repugnant than hiding behind the mantle of God and religion in order to achieve sinister goals and there is nothing noble in feeding other people’s children (illegal aliens) while ours go hungry.

    If, indeed, these various religious organizations are so intent on burdening struggling Americans with paying trillions of dollars a year for services provided to illegal aliens, I would suggest they redeem themselves by returning to the days of missionaries traveling to and residing in these third world countries.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Archie Bunker

    UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS ARE NOT CRIMINALS. Its a Civil Matter.

    The whole thing is perplexing to people who don’t understand that being an illegal immigrant in and of itself is not a crime. The most pervasive comments made in news stories about Secure Communities go a little like this: “Illegal immigrants are what they’re called — they’re considered criminals by mere definition. Illegals who broke a bunch of laws to enter and live here should be subjected to immediate arrest and deportation — that’s fair for everyone.”

    That’s not accurate, but a lot of people have that same misunderstanding — even law enforcement professionals.

    During a teleconference last month on the troubles that Secure Communities is bringing to local law enforcement agencies, a few sheriffs on the call commiserated about their misunderstanding of immigration violations.

    “I was always told it was a felony federal violation of law and was always under the impression that turning over any illegal immigrants (to ICE) was mandated by federal law — and so did my employees,” said Sheriff Ed Prieto of Yolo County, Calif. “But after we met with the Mexican consulate in Sacramento we learned it’s not. Then I started looking into how many of our people are being deported before trial and I became very uncomfortable contacting ICE for nonviolent offenders.”

    Kane County, Ill., Sheriff Patrick Perez said that “90 percent of law enforcement officers believe (just being an illegal immigrant) is a crime, but I learned after talking to an immigration judge that it is just a civil offense.”

    Sara Dill, a member of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Immigration and a member of the ABA’s Criminal Justice Council, explained it to me this way: “States are seeking to criminalize what is only a civil violation in federal law.” Dill said that failing to get a permit for home construction is one example of a civil, not criminal, violation. “Putting illegal immigrants in a criminal context confuses merely being present in the United States without authorization with crimes such as falsely claiming citizenship or identity theft, which are crimes under federal law.”

    Everyone knows that of the universe of illegal immigrants, some have committed nonviolent and violent crimes — and everyone believes these should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

    But believers of following “the letter of the law” cannot continue equating all illegal immigrants living in this country with criminals, who have plenty of civil rights of their own. That’s not the American way.

    TO ALL YOU LAZYYYYY FREE LOADERS WHO SIT AND WAIT FOR THE GOVERMENT HANDOUTS AND LIVE ON OUR TAXES, YES THE SOUTHREN SYSTES, GET OFF YOUR LAZZZY BACKSIDES, GET TO WORK AND BUILD YOUR OWN LIFE INSTEAD OF BLAMING OTHERS FOR YOUR OWN FAILURES.
    IDEA: GO TO THE MIRROR AND SLAPPPP HARD THE PERSON YOU EE BECAUSE YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE IN CHARGE OF YOUR LIFE , WHAT WILL IT BE?? IF YOU WNAT TO $UCC$EED, GET DR NAPOLEON HILLS BOOK, THINK & GROW RICH AND $$$UCc$EED.

    If you are an American citizen, don’t let anyone tell you that you are downtrodden.

    We still live in the greatest country in the world. The United States is the great experiment in positive thinking; our entire system of government is based upon faith in the inherent goodness of the individual. It was a revolutionary idea more than 200 years ago when the Declaration of Independence was first signed. Borrowing from the greatest thinkers in history, our founding fathers established a form of government of the people that is today the model most imitated around the world. Economic and political conditions ebb and flow, but as long as we have a democratic society that celebrates the individual, we can achieve anything in life we desire. All you require to be successful in the United States is the desire to achieve success and the determination to stick with it until you reach your goals.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment cld912

    someone asked about struggling americans. are the koch brothers struggling? i wonder what would happen if a legislator who voted for the law were in a car accident and the person who passed by and found him/her could save their life. would the legislator reject an offer for help?

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