It took an opinion from the United States Supreme Court, but this week our nation officially recognized the obvious – children are fundamentally different from adults and our criminal justice system should not lock them up and throw away the key.
Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is a blow to Arizona’s anti-immigrant law and similar copycat laws that have sprung up in other states. The court’s decision affirms that much about these laws is unconstitutional because many of their provisions are preempted by federal law. The decision also shows the court has significant concerns about the one provision they allowed to stand.
Alabama lawmakers just can’t help themselves. When the legislature convened this year, its members had an opportunity to repair the damage the state’s harsh anti-immigrant law had inflicted across Alabama.Promises were made. Changes were supposedly in the works.
In Louisiana’s Jefferson Parish Public School System, African-American students face a harsh reality. Typical teenage misbehavior, such as horseplay or cursing, doesn’t result in a trip to the principal’s office. Instead, these students are shipped off to alternative schools where they often languish for months, even years.
"Today is an incredibly dark day for Alabama. Despite the fact that our state has suffered incredibly over the past year as a result of HB56, the Alabama legislature and Governor Bentley have chosen to double down by passing and signing into law an even more extreme measure. While other states have abandoned similar measures and even recalled the sponsors of such measures, Alabama has once again made a name for itself as the worst of the worst."
This week, the state that created the blueprint for vicious anti-immigrant laws is going to court. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case that will decide the constitutionality of Arizona's anti-immigrant law, SB 1070. The court's decision is far greater than a single state's issue.
Yesterday, Alabama legislative leaders in the House proved they have learned nothing from their mistakes and that they don’t care at all about the pain and suffering of all Alabamians. They have rushed through a so-called reform bill that will do nothing to alleviate the economic and humanitarian crisis that is gripping our state because of HB 56 – Alabama’s draconian anti-immigrant law. This law harms the economy, runs counter to our fundamental principles of faith and returns Alabama to its dark past of racial hatred and division.
The Southern Poverty Law Center is part of a coalition of civil rights groups challenging misguided state laws in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. Frustration with Congress’ failure to reform the nation’s immigration policy is not sufficient reason for states to create a patchwork of policies that throw lives into disarray and sow fear, bigotry and confusion in communities.
Marchers from across the country came to Montgomery, Ala., recently to rally at the state Capitol. It was the culmination of a march that began in Selma days earlier, retracing the steps of the historic 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march.
With a new year upon us, many state legislatures across the country will be convening. Some may attempt to follow in the steps of Alabama by passing harsh, anti-immigrant legislation. Before they do, they should remember Alabama.
The Southern Poverty Law Center asked members of Congress today to oppose legislation that would greatly expand one of the nation’s guestworker programs and shred protections for both guestworkers and U.S. workers.
The debt ceiling debate is consuming all of the oxygen in Washington these days, but there’s another economic issue that Congress would be wise to resolve – and soon, before more damage is done to our recovering but still brittle economy. That issue is immigration reform.