Washington, DC - Despite being faced with a statewide human rights crisis and a global public relations disaster upon its enactment last year of the harsh anti-immigrant law, HB 56, extremist Alabama legislators rejected calls to undo the damage and instead made the law worse with yet another provision that encourages vigilantism.
Due to the extremist agenda of Alabama legislative leaders and the failure of leadership by Governor Robert Bentley, children, Latinos and other communities of color, faith groups, businesses, farmers, and all residents of Alabama will continue to suffer along with the state's economy.
One of the worse provisions is a new requirement for the state "to post a quarterly list of the names of any undocumented alien who appears in court for a violation of state law, regardless of whether they were convicted."
Left in place was the provision of the law that forced school administrators and teachers into the role of immigration officers through the interrogation of school children about their legal status and that of their parents.
Instead of pulling away from its history of racism by repealing HB 56, Alabama is stuck in the past; a bad message to any national or international company considering Alabama as a place to do business.
People will not forget how - when given an opportunity to correct a wrong - the legislature and the governor deepened Alabama's economic and social crisis. The lawmakers traded long-term stability and prosperity for short-term political pandering.
We have a message for the governor and legislature: As long as legalized racial profiling and a mechanism for vigilantism remain in place, we will continue to fight. We will continue fighting in US courts and in the international courts of law because, fundamentally, the good people of Alabama know that it is wrong to discriminate against someone based on how they look or speak.
The broad and deep coalition of communities that came together in this cause for justice -- leaders of the faith community, legislators in the Black Caucus, Latino and African American leaders, labor groups, teachers, parents, immigrants and citizens will remain united as we move forward.
Justice may not come quickly in Alabama, but it will come, as we learned from the brave men and women who were beaten and assaulted as they walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965 on their march to Montgomery to demand voting rights.
We, too, will continue to fight and march until we win justice for all.
Wednesday, May 30th, at 9:30 am Central Time. Details to follow.
Service Employees International Union
United Auto Workers
National Association for Advancement of Colored People
National Council of La Raza
Leadership Conference of Civil and Human
Rights America's Voice Education Fund
Center for Community Change
Southern Poverty Law Center