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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. 

"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."

In an incredibly callous move earlier this week, lawmakers in the U.S. House passed a bill that stands to roll back important provisions of the Violence Against Women Act, which would leave immigrant victims of domestic violence and sexual assault even more vulnerable to abuse.

Last spring, Florida lawmakers passed Senate Bill 2112, which allows counties to place children charged as juveniles in adult jails. Under this law, counties overseeing juvenile detention no longer have to adhere to the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) standards developed over many years to protect the unique needs of children.

The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Beth Allen Law firm of Portland, Ore. sent a complaint today to two professional psychiatric associations, urging them to investigate the unethical use of conversion therapy by a Portland psychiatrist.