Heard of HB56? Described as the “new Jim Crow” and the nation’s harshest anti-immigration law yet, this legislation is splintering families and inspiring fear across the state of Alabama. Like Arizona’s anti-immigration law, the bill requires that police investigate and detain anyone who gives them “reasonable suspicion” to believe that they may be undocumented. It explicitly states that undocumented immigrants may not receive any public benefits, and forbids employers from hiring, harboring, renting to, or even giving rides to undocumented immigrants. But it gets more shocking from there.
One provision in HB56 exempts “casual domestic labour.” What does this mean? Basically, whiles factories, pharmacies, restaurants, and stores are absolutely forbidden from employing illegal immigrants (who, according to the writers of the bill, still constitute a threat to the American economy), it is perfectly acceptable to hire them to wash, cook, clean, or nanny on a one-time basis. Let’s review: the state of Alabama does not want people working in their economy based on the color of their skin, but will permit them casually doing their dirty work, as long as they can be discharged immediately after? It becomes clear HB56 is a self-serving, hypocritical, and racist piece of legislation, one that constitutes a new low for anti-immigration hatred in the United States.
Perhaps not so much has changed since the time of Jim Crow.