The face of America is changing. In 40 years, the United States will become a minority-majority nation – a remarkable milestone for a country that already boasts one of the most religiously, ethnically and racially diverse societies in the world.
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.
For the better part of seven years now, Kansas attorney Kris Kobach has been urging municipalities and states to pass the draconian laws he writes that are aimed at so badly punishing undocumented immigrants that they will “self-deport.” Even as governments went into debt to pay his fees and the cost of defending his dubious statutes, Kobach insisted that if they hung tough, they would win in the end.
With chronic budget shortfalls, dangerously overcrowded prisons and the nation’s biggest municipal bankruptcy filing, folks here in Alabama have a lot on our minds. But at least we can cross one worry off the list: Thanks to a new and little-noticed state law, our property cannot be confiscated by the United Nations – not, at least, without due process.
Mary Bauer, legal director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, said the Obama administration’s announcement Friday to delay deporting young immigrants is a positive step, but against a backdrop of anti-immigrant sentiment and harsh laws in many states, much more remains to be done. “We applaud President Obama for taking a step in the right direction for young immigrants,” Bauer said. “While it is a small step and long overdue, it is an important step. We should recognize, however, the great harms that are still happening on the ground for millions of immigrants.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center re-launched a hotline today for people to report problems and abuses they have experienced as a result of Alabama’s draconian anti-immigrant law. Alabamians are urged to share their stories about the state’s anti-immigrant law and learn more about changes to the law by calling 1-800-982-1620.
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.
It’s a common sight across the country: A family packs up its belongings and moves to a new state it will call home. Sometimes it’s a job opportunity that calls. Other times it’s family. These moves are life-changing events for any family, but for LGBT people, the simple act of crossing a state line has even more significance.
As the school year draws to a close, the SPLC salutes just a few of the students this year who fought the good fight, challenging homophobia and gender discrimination in their schools. If it’s true that young people are our future, the future is looking pretty diverse, free and fabulous. We hope you are as inspired to read about them as we at the SPLC have been to work with them.