Taylor: Feds ‘derelict’ on immigration laws

Published 8:15 am Wednesday, August 31, 2011

In the wake of a federal judge’s temporary block on Alabama’s controversial immigration law, state Sen. Bryan Taylor the issue remains a difficult one.

The federal government “has been derelict in its duty to regulate immigration in this country,” said Taylor, R-Prattville.

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“The Alabama Legislature didn’t create the law making it illegal to hire undocumented aliens,” Taylor said. “That has always been a federal law. The Alabama Legislature is simply requiring the enforcement of the existing law using electronic verification of work eligibility. That’s a fact that has been lost in all of this.”

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Sharon L. Blackburn said she decided to block the law set to take effect Thursday until Sept. 29 to give her more time to consider the lawsuits filed against it. The law is opposed by the Obama administration, church leaders and immigrant-rights groups who claim it is unconstitutional.

In her statement Monday, Blackburn said she plans to address the legality of the immigration law by the end of September.

Taylor said that he has not found anything in Alabama’s immigration law that outlaws Christian ministry or prohibits churches from exercising their freedom to minister to all people.

Neither, he said, is the law is an attempt to identify undocumented immigrants or to keep children of undocumented aliens from attending school.

“That provision has been blatantly mischaracterized,” he said. “The law prohibits schools from attaching any names to children who have not supplied documentation. A child without documentation may still be enrolled without penalty.”

Taylor said the number of undocumented school children is reported to the state, making it possible to calculate the educational expenditures for these children.

“Where there is a significant number of these undocumented aliens, the schools could need additional funding for programs such as English as a second language,” he said.

Taylor said there is nothing in Alabama’s immigration law that prohibits giving a ride to an illegal alien.

“What it prohibits is human trafficking,” he said. “And, the harboring provision, basically, prevents the harboring of an illegal alien to hide him or her from the border patrol. The law does prevent renting to an illegal alien.”

Hiring illegal immigrants who will work for lower wages is cost saving for employers.

Given the state of the economy, more employers are looking for those who will work for less

“Anything bought on the black market is cheaper but we can’t have it both ways,” Taylor said. “We are a country of immigrants. We all came from somewhere else in our ancestry. But, with the economy the way it is, we should ensure that all available jobs go to American workers and those who immigrated here legally. It the rule of law.”

Taylor said that he has lived in Latin American countries and he has seen the horrendous living conditions in those countries and understands those who want to escape the poverty.

“I have friends in Costa Rica and Honduras and one of them is standing in line in an effort to come to our country legally,” Taylor said. “It is not fair for those who come illegally to be rewarded for it.”

A provision of the law that could affect many Pike County citizens states that any person who enters into a business transaction, including applying for or renewing a motor vehicle license plate, a driver’s license or non-driver identification card or business license will be required to demonstrate United State citizenship.

Under the law, the Pike County Probate Judge’s Office would have to suspend the mail option renewal of vehicle tags.

Pike County Probate Judge Wes Allen said now that the state’s immigration law has been temporarily blocked, his office will send out motor vehicle license plate renewal courtesy notices for September as usual.

“We will be looking at the procedure to make sure that we are in compliance with the law,” Allen said. “We will fully comply with the law.”