Friday, December 23, 2011

Appeals court moves forward on AL, GA immigration laws

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta turned down Alabama's and Georgia's motions to stay its proceedings over their immigration laws in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to review Arizona's immigration laws.
That was no surprise.  Appellate matters, generally, move at a glacial pace, so stopping an appellate proceeding is akin to freezing it in place and having to thaw it out again when it's time to move forward.
No party -- either for or against Alabama's and Georgia's immigration laws -- can glean anything from the Eleventh Circuit's ruling.  It is entirely procedural.
But the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to grant certiorari and consider issuing its opinion concerning Arizona's immigration laws is important.  U.S. District Judge Susan Bolten blocked the unconstitutional provisions of Arizona's laws a year ago, a decision that was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  So the U.S. Supreme Court will consider only those provisions blocked by Judge Bolten.
Among the provisions blocked in Arizona and Georgia -- but not in Alabama -- was the "reasonable suspicion" provision which allowed local law enforcement officials to stop and possibly imprison people who might appear to be "not from around here".  But the infamous "show me your papers" provision of Alabama's law was blocked -- not by U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn of Birmingham -- but by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which may understand the U.S. Constitution.  That, however, is yet to be determined.
The last state to successfully implement a "show me your papers" law was Nazi Germany.  That state did so successfully for almost ten years.  A Jew back then would be asked for his "papers".  If he didn't have them on his person, or if his "papers" were not in order, the Nazis would arrest him, send him to a labor camp, then transfer him to a concentration camp and later incinerate him.
Judge Bolten blocked the Arizona "show me your papers" law.  Judge Blackburn did not. The U.S. Supreme Court may support Judge Bolten's opinion or Judge Blackburn's and the Nazis' opinion.  We'll see which one prevails.
Republicans in the Alabama Legislature set the state back more than 50 years.  Some people still remember the civil rights era when black people suffered in the South because of their race and color.  So far, economic development officials in Athens, Demopolis and Monroeville say that foreign-owned companies have told them the companies' jobs -- hundreds of jobs -- are not coming to Alabama.  The foreign-owned companies won't tell these economic development officials exactly why, of course, but everyone knows why.
If I worked for the Alabama Development Office, I would think about finding something else to do.  If you were an economic development official in another state, competing for the same jobs offered by these foreign-owned companies, wouldn't you accuse Alabamians -- with good reason -- of being xenophobes, the new racists of the 21st century?  Of course you would.  You would use every tool at your disposal.

No comments:

Post a Comment