Friday, 24 February 2017 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG

KEEP INDEPENDENT
MEDIA ALIVE

Truthout's fearless journalism is powered by readers like you.

The day-to-day costs to keep Truthout running are significant. We are in critical need of your support.

Can you take a moment to help keep us online and publishing?

Click here
to donate.

New Alabama Law Encourages Neighbors to Spy on and Report Suspected Undocumented Immigrants Next Door

Thursday, December 01, 2011 By Amanda Peterson Beadle, ThinkProgress | Report
  • font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size
  • Print

Law enforcement officials across Alabama were unsure how they would enforce — let alone pay for — HB 56, the state’s draconian immigration law, when it went into effect. Terry Davis, the president of the Alabama Association of Chiefs of Police, warned that officers were stretched too thin by the far-reaching demands of the new law, in addition to their regular duties.

One sheriff in Limestone County told the Athens News-Courier that his department’s resources are being strained to the breaking point by investigations prompted by the immigration law — including people asking police to investigate if their neighbors are undocumented immigrants:

Sheriff Mike Blakely said most of his department’s resources are not being stretched thin because of illegal immigration arrests, but instead because of investigations into the alleged mistreatment of illegal immigrants. [...]

In terms of the arrests of illegal immigrants, the sheriff said there hasn’t been a noticeable increase because he feels many illegal immigrants have left the community. However, he said the department’s call volume is rising because residents want officers to investigate neighbors who they believe are illegal.

“There’s a lot of people confused about the law and people are getting frustrated with us,” he said. “If they suspect someone is illegal, we can’t just go out and check them out. The law prohibits us from doing that. We can contact ICE, but unless they’re committing a crime, we have no authority (to arrest them).”

Alabama’s anti-immigrant law is already a clear disaster for community safety, distracting police from focusing on violent crime and leading immigrant communities to distrust law enforcement officials. Equally disturbing is the evidence that the law is undermining the fabric of communities by sowing suspicion and turning neighbors against each other.

Amanda Peterson Beadle

Amanda Peterson Beadle is an editorial assistant at ThinkProgress.org. She received her B.A. in journalism and Spanish from the University of Alabama, where she was editor-in-chief of the campus newspaper The Crimson White and graduated with honors. Before joining ThinkProgress, she worked as a legislative aide in the Maryland House of Delegates. In college, she interned at the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire, the Press-Register (Mobile, Alabama), and the Ludington Daily News. She is from Birmingham, Alabama.


Hide Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus
GET DAILY TRUTHOUT UPDATES
Optional Member Code

FOLLOW togtorsstottofb


New Alabama Law Encourages Neighbors to Spy on and Report Suspected Undocumented Immigrants Next Door

Thursday, December 01, 2011 By Amanda Peterson Beadle, ThinkProgress | Report
  • font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size
  • Print

Law enforcement officials across Alabama were unsure how they would enforce — let alone pay for — HB 56, the state’s draconian immigration law, when it went into effect. Terry Davis, the president of the Alabama Association of Chiefs of Police, warned that officers were stretched too thin by the far-reaching demands of the new law, in addition to their regular duties.

One sheriff in Limestone County told the Athens News-Courier that his department’s resources are being strained to the breaking point by investigations prompted by the immigration law — including people asking police to investigate if their neighbors are undocumented immigrants:

Sheriff Mike Blakely said most of his department’s resources are not being stretched thin because of illegal immigration arrests, but instead because of investigations into the alleged mistreatment of illegal immigrants. [...]

In terms of the arrests of illegal immigrants, the sheriff said there hasn’t been a noticeable increase because he feels many illegal immigrants have left the community. However, he said the department’s call volume is rising because residents want officers to investigate neighbors who they believe are illegal.

“There’s a lot of people confused about the law and people are getting frustrated with us,” he said. “If they suspect someone is illegal, we can’t just go out and check them out. The law prohibits us from doing that. We can contact ICE, but unless they’re committing a crime, we have no authority (to arrest them).”

Alabama’s anti-immigrant law is already a clear disaster for community safety, distracting police from focusing on violent crime and leading immigrant communities to distrust law enforcement officials. Equally disturbing is the evidence that the law is undermining the fabric of communities by sowing suspicion and turning neighbors against each other.

Amanda Peterson Beadle

Amanda Peterson Beadle is an editorial assistant at ThinkProgress.org. She received her B.A. in journalism and Spanish from the University of Alabama, where she was editor-in-chief of the campus newspaper The Crimson White and graduated with honors. Before joining ThinkProgress, she worked as a legislative aide in the Maryland House of Delegates. In college, she interned at the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire, the Press-Register (Mobile, Alabama), and the Ludington Daily News. She is from Birmingham, Alabama.


Hide Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus