News & Updates
November 29, 2011
Op Ed on Immigration
Our Commitment to Combat Illegal Immigration
By House Speaker Mike Hubbard and Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh
In the “Handshake with Alabama,” a list of promises Republicans campaigned on in 2010, candidates for the Alabama Legislature could not have been clearer about our intention to crack down on illegal immigration. We told voters that, if elected to the majority, we would enact a strict law to stem the flow of illegal immigrants to Alabama.
More precisely, Republican candidates for office promised to enact a law similar to Arizona’s illegal immigration crackdown, one that would give law enforcement the authority to “arrest illegal immigrants for simply stepping foot in Alabama.”
Alabama voters took us up on that promise and elected Republicans to strong majorities in both the House and Senate. In just eight months, we kept our end of the bargain by passing every one of the reforms promised in the Handshake, including a strict illegal immigration law.
The law we passed:
• protects Alabama jobs by requiring businesses to verify the legal status of their workers, ensuring that illegal immigrant labor cannot take jobs away from Alabama citizens looking for work; and
• protects Alabama taxpayers by requiring that only legal residents of this country can take advantage of state-funded services. With social services such as Medicaid already bursting at the seams, we must save those precious resources for legal, tax-paying residents of Alabama.
Special interest groups have purposefully misrepresented facts about this law in order to generate fear and anger. They do this because it is difficult to convince Alabamians that it is somehow unfair to require proof of legal residency from those wishing to receive public benefits, or that that it is somehow discriminatory to require employers to hire only legal, documented workers.
In Alabama, we believe in obedience to law because it promotes fairness and protects the rights of everybody.
Conversely, the federal government, particularly the Obama Administration, has discouraged fairness and endangered the rights of Americans by refusing to deal with the nation’s serious illegal immigration problem.
In the face of national security threats, an explosion of drug and gun trafficking across our borders, budgets strained to the brink in part by the increased cost of state services to illegal aliens, and endemic unemployment for legal residents, the Obama Administration and Congress have failed to address our broken immigration system.
That’s why we took action to essentially enforce as a state what is current, inconsistently-enforced federal immigration law.
The next legislative session starts in February, and the Leadership’s stated priorities are boosting private sector job growth, improving schools through education reform, and making state government more efficient.
Boosting job growth in Alabama is all about enacting business-friendly policies that help companies grow and hire more workers. We certainly want to ensure that our immigration law works and is enforceable, helping us protect Alabama jobs while not hindering the private sector from growing our economy.
Therefore, in the 2012 legislative session, lawmakers will make our immigration law better by:
• seeking to help state and local authorities comply with and enforce the immigration law, ensuring more effective and less burdensome application of the law;
• working with Alabama industries to ensure smooth implementation of the law. We all want a positive, but legal, work environment.
We will not:
• repeal or weaken the law acquiescing to liberal elites’ and the news media’s efforts to intimidate and shame Alabama.
• allow jobs to go to those who are in our state illegally. Simply put, Alabama jobs are for Alabama residents.
• allow Alabama to be a sanctuary state for illegal immigrants by tolerating their presence and permitting them to access state services
Liberal elites like the editors of The New York Times hate this law and badly want it repealed. However, most reasonable Alabamians understand that we must deal with the growing illegal immigration problem and they want to make this law work.
That’s what we promised the people of this state we would do more than a year ago, and we will continue to live up to that commitment.
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