Changes to immigration law ease requirements

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Revisions to the immigration law have eased the requirements of state residents to renew vehicle tags and obtain business licenses.

“There is substantial progress in this bill,” Gov. Robert Bentley said in a news release, “Burdens on legal residents and businesses are eased, and the goal remains the same – that if you live and work in Alabama, you must do so legally.”

Troy City Clerk Alton Starling said that the changes to Alabama’s immigration law won’t really affect the way the city operates.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“We had not done anything in that area, anyway,” Starling said. “The courts decided prior to this that we were to not ask anybody their status as an immigrant.”

Because the law was held up in court proceedings, Starling said the city never even had to utilize the SAVE program, a database documenting immigration status.

The Legislature made several changes, including eliminating the need for people to prove their legal residency when renewing business licenses, driver’s licenses, and vehicle tags.

“This bill reduces burdens on legal residents as they conduct government transactions,” Bentley said. “The bill also reduces burdens on businesses while still holding them accountable to hire legal workers.  These changes make this a stronger bill.”

One of the attorneys challenging Alabama’s law, Mary Bauer of the Southern Poverty Law Center, said she was disappointed that Bentley had signed the bill and given up on making more changes.

She said some of the revisions passed by the Legislature make the bill worse than the original enacted in 2011. “Alabama is distinguishing itself as the worst of the worst,” she said.