Alabama's immigration law

Alabama's immigration law

October 5th, 2011 in Opinion Free Press

Many states have been deeply frustrated by the federal government's failure to uphold laws against illegal immigration. In fact, the Obama administration has actively sought to have potentially hundreds of thousands of deportation cases dismissed against suspected illegal aliens who were already in our legal system.

Frustration with that lax approach has grown as unemployment has increased and millions of illegal aliens have continued to fill jobs that might otherwise be filled by jobless U.S. citizens or legal immigrants.

Troubled by federal inaction, a number of states have enacted laws to fight illegal immigration. Alabama's law is among the toughest, and it is encouraging that a federal judge recently upheld the main provisions of the law.

Among other provisions, the law permits police to check whether suspects are in the United States legally. The law also requires the compiling of statistics on how many illegal aliens are in Alabama's public schools. Those are both reasonable measures.

Police should clearly have the authority to check whether a person suspected of committing a crime is an illegal alien. Setting such a suspect free makes it highly likely that he will flee and never show up for his court date. And it is unjust that Alabama's taxpayers are paying for the education of people who are in the state illegally -- especially in a time of economic crisis and extremely limited funds for education.

Regrettably, although the federal judge upheld key provisions of the law, she temporarily blocked a provision that would have barred illegal aliens from attending public colleges in Alabama. That's unfortunate because with enrollment limited, college spots filled by illegal aliens are spots wrongly denied to American citizens. The judge also halted a sensible provision making it illegal to knowingly harbor an illegal alien.

Still, the most important parts of Alabama's immigration law were upheld. That is a victory for commonsense and a message to Washington that the states want the federal government to do its duty by fighting illegal immigration.