How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Making sense of Alabama's new immigration law: Three good reads

Photo by naslrogues/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Nearly a year after Arizona's SB 1070 took effect last July, the immigration spotlight has shifted to Alabama, where yesterday the governor signed an anti-illegal immigration law that is being described as the nation's most stringent yet.

Like SB 1070, the Alabama law would allow local police to check the immigration status of people they detain. But there are other elements - including a business component patterned after an earlier Arizona measure - that make the law particularly contentious, and lawsuits challenging it are already in the works.

Among the many news reports today, a few good ones have helped explain the law and put it in perspective.  An Associated Press story today broke down its key elements:

Among other things, the law makes it a crime for landlords to knowingly rent to an illegal immigrant.

Another provision makes it a crime to transport a known illegal immigrant. Arizona's law appears narrower: It includes language against human smuggling and makes it illegal to pick up laborers for work if doing so impedes traffic.

Alabama's law also goes further in requiring schools to check the immigration status of their students. The measure does not prohibit illegal immigrants from attending public schools; lawmakers said the purpose instead is to gather data on how many are enrolled and how the much the state is spending to educate them.