“Ours is a country basically that is based on immigration. We are a nation of immigrants. Only two categories of Americans don’t fall into the category of immigrants, and that is the Native Americans—the Indians—and the black Americans. We’re the only ones who didn’t seek to come here.” Read more at Define American

—U.W. Clemon, Alabama’s first black federal judge

“[There’s] a fear factor out there that’s written between the lines of this law, [and it] is accomplishing the impact of folks who want to see these families leave. Parents are afraid to drive their kids to school, [fearing] that something will happen and they won’t be able to care for their children, Nobody wins when a law pushes children into the shadow of society. Teachers should be safety nets, not snitches. Guardians, not guards.” Read article here.

—Roseann Rodriguez of the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama, in a conference call 10.5.11

“You got people’s been living here 25 years. They’ve raised families here, they’ve got a residence; they’ve made a life here. I’ve got very good friends, almost like family, that’s been working for us for years and years. I don’t think that’s right.” Read Morning Edition article.

—23-year-old Cody Smith, family farmer in Cullman, AL.

“They [Immigrants] may be poor, but their children grow up to be productive citizen taxpayers. Unless, of course, you frighten and oppress them, and forbid them to work, live and go to school.” Read full article

—”It’s What They Asked For,” New York Times editorial

Today I got to pitch the Becoming Visible campaign to a group of Spring Hill College students. The students are already planning to lobby Alabama’s U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions about immigration, which makes them a feisty group of activists. They discussed the issues intelligently, liked the idea of the campaign, and took some flyers. I’m excited about having them involved with Adios Alabama and Becoming Visible.

“They worked hard”

photo by Roger Kirby, via stock xchng

American Southern Cotton. photo by Roger Kirby, via stock xchng

According to this story from the Florence Times Daily, problems from HB56 continue to drain the economy. This time it’s impacting the cotton industry, where immigrants have stopped showing up for work. Randall Vaden, an owner of Scruggs and Vaden cotton gin west of Florence says  the gin had immigrant workers from Russellville who were good workers, worked hard, and were never late.

“But as soon as the judge issued that ruling, they stopped answering their phone and we couldn’t find them. Continue reading

OK, so it looks like the “Hire Native” campaign by Grow Alabama is not going so well.

Jerry Spencer had an idea after Alabama’s tough new law against illegal immigration scared Hispanic workers out of the tomato fields northeast of Birmingham: Recruit unemployed U.S. citizens to do the work, give them free transportation and pay them to pick the fruit and clean the fields. After two weeks, Spencer said Monday, the experiment is a failure. Read the Associated Press story.