"Illegal is illegal."
With that rallying cry, Arizona passed SB 1070 and Alabama passed HB 56 in 2011; the latter was the harshest state immigration law in the country.
Instead, it caused fear among immigrant communities, resulted in serious economic harm, cost the state a fortune to defend, and ultimately was gutted by the courts.
The law’s passage led to a severe shortage in agricultural workers, as immigrants – both those who were authorized to work in the US and those who were not – fled Alabama in droves.
Many unintended consequences emerged: from small towns’ police with not enough resources to hold everyone who did not have proof of citizenship, to people not getting power or water, because utilities cut off service to residents who could not prove citizenship.
HB 56 ended-up in ruins. The most far-reaching provisions proved unconstitutional, unworkable, or politically unsustainable.
Some believe that migrants come to exploit our welfare system. Let's be real, people do not make perilous journeys; risk all their savings and sometimes their lives, for the goal of getting a welfare check, a food stamp card or a housing voucher...
They want to work, to help their families and the common good!