Alabama’s ‘Papers Please’ Run Amok

As was pointed out last week, hundreds of Hispanic school children have decided to flee their public schools out fear that their presence may bring unwanted attention to both themselves and their families under Alabama's HB 56, otherwise known as "Papers Please."

The wingnut reaction to the news that children have been forced to flee their schools has ranged from indifference to celebration, with one Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions (R) expressing his regrets that we ever allowed them here in the first place.

INGRAHAM: Do you think it’s bad all these Hispanic kids have disappeared from the schools? Do you think that’s a bad thing?

SESSIONS: All I would just say to you is that it’s a sad thing that we’ve allowed a situation to occur for decades that large numbers of people are in the country illegal and it’s going to have unpleasant, unfortunate consequences.

These are children we're talking about here. Children whose only sin is apparently being born.

I wonder how many of those children, which Jeff Sessions wishes were not here, may have been unwanted or unplanned and possibly preventable through readily accessible birth control?

I digress.

As it turns out, there are components contained deep within HB 56 that have far reaching implications that, up until recently, no one saw coming. Components that go far beyond scaring children away from school.

At least one utility company in Alabama posted a sign informing its customers that a section of Alabama’s extreme anti-immigrant law prohibits them from providing water service to undocumented immigrants. According to the sign at Allgood Water Works in Blount County, Alabama, customers must have “an Alabama driver’s license or an Alabama picture ID card on file” by the date that the immigration law went into effect; otherwise, they risked losing their water service.

Sadly, the picture for Alabama’s immigrants is even grimmer than this sign suggests. Indeed, under one provision of the state’s immigration law, HB 56, it is a felony for an undocumented immigrant to even attempt to do business with Alabama’s state-run water agencies.

No school. And no water?

As ThinkProgress notes, this law could also make it impossible for immigrants to obtain electricity or even pay their taxes.

Wait. Prevent them from paying taxes? I thought the Republicans were ready to shit themselves over the fact that a mythical 50% of the nation pays no taxes?

Why not just make it a felony to have brown skin in Alabama? Why not force these unwanted persons into ghettos and force them to wear a symbol for being of Hispanic descent while you're at it?

Fortunately, the Obama Administration has now issued a formal challenge to Alabama's "Papers Please" under concerns that the law will also impact people who are in the country legally.

The federal government filed a motion in the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday, claiming Alabama’s new immigration law is “highly likely to expose persons lawfully in the United States, including school children, to new difficulties in routine dealings.”

The controversial new law allows authorities to question people suspected of being in the country illegally and hold them without bond. Additionally, it allows officials to check the immigration status of students registering for public schools.

They would have good reason suspect that Alabama's law could impact persons who are in the country legally, as at least one man was mistakenly detained last week on suspicions that he was illegal.

GADSDEN, Ala. (AP) — A man suspected of violating Alabama’s new immigration law turned out to be in the country legally.

The Etowah County Sheriff’s Department apprehended three men from Yemen during a drug raid Friday. One produced papers showing he had become a citizen. The second had a work visa. But the third man, who was accused of obstructing a government operation, could not produce any records and was held in jail.

Etowah County officials said Monday an attorney for 24-year-old Mohamed Ali Muflahi later produced papers showing he had legal status.

The fact is not many people carry their "papers" on them, and up until now their was no reason to. And there still isn't, at least for white people.

Most of the children who have fled their schools are also more than likely legal citizens because they were born in this country, which is something Republicans would love to repeal, but their parents or relatives may not be and they have fled for their safety.