In July of 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Arizona’s infamous SB 1070, a bill requiring police in that state to check the immigration status of anyone they “suspect” of being undocumented. A year later, Alabama has taken a step further by targeting immigrant children — schools would be required to check the immigration status of children attending k-12. What next? Deporting six-year old children? Moreover, the bill also requires business to use the federal program E-verify to check the legal status of job applicants. If this were not enough, it also makes it a crime to request work without documents, or to provide transportation to anyone without documents.
The anti-immigrant sentiment is also felt at the national level where Lamar Smith, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, introduced legislation to make employment verification (E-Verify) a mandatory system. So far, E-verify is federal program is primarily voluntary.
But resistance is increasing. A few weeks ago, Massachusetts’s governor Deval Patrick came out against Secure Communities – making that state the third behind New York last week and Illinois last month. The resistance keeps on growing. Legislators in most states considering anti-immigrant legislation rejected those bills. We need to stop enforcement-only approaches and focus on giving relief to DREAM students and families.