Editorial: A failed law laid to rest
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Oct 30, 2013 | 2408 views |  0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale. Photo: Dave Martin/The Associated Press
Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale. Photo: Dave Martin/The Associated Press
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The Beason-Hammond Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act rode into Alabama aboard a train of xenophobic politics that drug the state’s good name through the mud.

The Beason-Hammond Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, or HBA56 as it is commonly known, is now dead in the water thanks to a court settlement Tuesday. The law, local officials told The Star this week, is largely “unenforceable.”

In other words, the mean-spirited creation of Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, and Rep. Micky Hammon, R-Decatur, has been picked clean — like a carcass preyed upon by vultures — by a string of court decisions. Those rulings continually overrode the Beason-Hammon talking point that HB56 was a legally defensible way to combat illegal immigration in the state.

Over and over, HB56 has been proven to be anything but defensible, be it legally, morally or ethically. The law was nothing but a partisan attempt to bully the undocumented and play to the Republican Party’s hard right that believes illegal immigration is at the heart of much of the United States’ economic and societal ills.

No matter that Alabama is home to only a small percentage of illegal immigrants.

No matter that Alabama agriculture depends on immigrant workers to bolster its workforce.

No matter that Alabama educators universally balked at the notion that they should check the immigration status of children before they admitted them to public schools.

No matter that Alabama clergy warned legislators that a state that so blatantly turns its back on a vulnerable population will be seen as a state of inhumane residents.

No matter that Alabama’s history still bears the deeps scars of racial legislation.

No matter, indeed. The state Legislature, behind Beason and Hammon, passed HB56 in 2011. Gov. Robert Bentley foolishly signed it into law.

Two years later, the Beason-Hammond Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act has been dismantled and effectively discarded. We hope Alabamians and the lawmakers who represent them have learned a valuable lesson.
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