Now that the horror of this terrifying and unconstitutional treatment has sunk in, what will career politicians do to put an end to the separate and unequal treatment of people of color in Alabama?
This madness was created by anti-immigrant forces that brought their vitriol to a state that did not have an immigration problem until it was manufactured by self-aggrandizing, mean-spirited politicians. Just over three percent of Alabama’s population is foreign born, and over 28 percent of those are naturalized citizens. Still, the chief state Senate sponsor of the bill, Scott Beason, warned Republicans that immigration would “destroy a community” and said they should “empty the clip and do what has to be done,” though Beason later retracted the comment.
It is no wonder that this law has made even citizens scared. Rick Pate, the owner of a commercial landscaping company in Montgomery, told the Associated Press that he lost two workers with legal status, whose vast experience included installation of the irrigation system at the Hyundai plant. “They just feel like there is a negative atmosphere for them here. They don’t feel welcome. I don’t begrudge them. I’d feel nervous, too,” Pate told AP.
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and its affiliate Workers United Southern Regional Joint Board joined the lawsuit to overturn this law because it is illegal and unconstitutional. As we await the trial on the legality of the law, let us never forget that children are being hurt now, and the trauma will be with them for the rest of their lives. It is unfair to them, to their families and to all of us who believe that this should not happen, certainly not in my America.
Eliseo Medina is the SEIU International Secretary-Treasurer.