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Alabama News Network: The "Unintended Consequences" of HB 56

New America Media | 11/17/2011, 3:01 p.m.

Republican senators are now planning to make changes to Alabama's new immigration law, citing "unintended consequences." This week in the Alabama News Network, a look at the numbers behind these "unintended consequences."

1. What Republican senators are saying about the law

The Birmingham News

Republican Sen. Gerald Dial is leading an effort to change Alabama's immigration law.

Sen. Jabo Waggoner, R-Vestavia Hills, who replaced immigration bill sponsor Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, as chairman of the Senate Rules Committee on Tuesday, said the bill had several "unintended consequences" that need to be addressed.

For example, having to prove legal residence for every transaction with state or local government, including renewing a driver's license, is too cumbersome. Criminalizing giving charitable aid to undocumented immigrants goes too far, he said. He wants to add a "good samaritan" clause so people who help undocumented immigrants out of charity aren't in danger of being arrested for a felony.

Dial said he would also try to remove the requirement that educators verify the immigration status of students in schools. "I think that was one of the worst things that was put in the bill," he said.

2. What farmers and immigrant workers are saying about the law

NBC's Rock Center With Brian Williams

3. What economists are saying about the law

Immigration Policy Center

4. What the Justice Department said about the law

CNN

The U.S. Justice Department called Alabama's immigration law unconstitutional, saying it threatens "the most basic human needs," according to a brief filed Monday with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.

5. The 10 Numbers You Need to Know About Alabama's Immigration Law

The Center for American Progress Immigration Team

1. 2.5 percent--The percentage of Alabama's population that is undocumented. That makes Alabama 20th in the nation in terms of the number of undocumented immigrants (120,000) residing there, well below states such as California (more than 2 million) or even Colorado (180,000).

2. $40 million--A conservative estimate of how much Alabama's economy would contract if only 10,000 undocumented immigrants stopped working in the state as a result of H.B. 56.

3. $130 million--The amount Alabama's undocumented immigrants paid in taxes in 2010. These include state and local, income, property, and consumption taxes. This revenue would be lost if H.B. 56 were to do its job and drive all unauthorized immigrants from the state.

4. $300,000--The amount one farmer, Chad Smith of Smith Farms, estimates he has lost because of labor shortages in the wake of H.B. 56. Another farmer, Brian Cash of K&B Farm, estimates that he lost $100,000 in one single month because of the law.

5. 2,285--The number of Hispanic students who did not attend class on the first Monday following the judge's ruling upholding key parts of H.B. 56., including the provision mandating schools to check the immigration status of students.

6. 15 percent--The percentage of absent Hispanic students (at peak) too afraid to attend school, comprising 5,143 children, since the law went into effect.

7. 1.3 percent--The percentage of Alabama schoolchildren who are not citizens of the United States. H.B. 56 intends to expend considerable resources to drive out a small percentage of the school-age population.

8. 2,000--The number of calls made in the first week to the Southern Poverty Law Center's hotline. Calls to hotline are reporting civil rights concerns related to the impact of H.B. 56, highlighting the extreme anxiety among the immigrant population.

9. $1.9 million--The amount of money that was spent by Arizona to defend S.B. 1070, a similar anti-immigrant law. The Arizona litigation is ongoing and can expect higher costs. With Alabama already facing multiple rounds of legal challenges, their costs are certain to be just as high, if not higher.

10. $2.8 billion--What it would cost the government if they were to deport all 120,000 undocumented migrants in Alabama. Each deportation costs American taxpayers $23,482.