Revisiting Alabama’s Shameful Past

May 18, 2012

Adela de la Torre: 213-674-2832; [email protected]


Governor Signs HB 658, Making State’s Racial Profiling Law Even More Draconian

MONTGOMERY, AL — Governor Bentley today signed HB 658, also known as the HB 56 “tweak” bill, into law. The bill, which was rushed through the legislature on the last day of the legislative session, fails to fix the most devastating elements of HB 56, the state’s racial profiling law. The bill does nothing to repeal elements of the law that have been blocked by the courts. HB 658 also introduces new discriminatory provisions, including:

  • One that mandates that courts submit names of undocumented individuals who appear in court. This includes domestic violence survivors, who must go to court to seek restraining orders. These names will be published in a prominent location on the state’s website.
  • One that expands the state’s “stop and arrest” provision by requiring police officers to verify immigration status for passengers as well as drivers if they “reasonably suspect” the person lacks authorization to live in the United States.

“Rather than repealing HB 56, a law that has caused a humanitarian and economic disaster in Alabama, Governor Bentley, Senator Beason, Representative Hammond, and others have revived Alabama’s shameful past. HB 658 sets a dangerous precedent that should concern everyone who cares about fairness and equality,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. “Alabama is already a state where skin color and accent turn you into a suspect, and people feel free to discriminate against their neighbors and former friends. Now, the state has gone a step further, making immigrants and their family members vulnerable to persecution and unrivaled levels of legally sanctioned discrimination.

“Alabama’s schools, workers, and families are in desperate need of a legislature that advocates for improved education, labor laws, and communities. Instead, the legislature chose to damage its economy, public safety, and reputation by passing a law that amplifies the negative effects of HB 56. We will continue our legal fight against HB 56 and this new law to ensure that they do not continue to devastate Alabamians of all colors.”

# # #