Opponents of Alabama’s immigration law rallied outside the Statehouse Tuesday.
They asked lawmakers to have a heart on Valentine’s Day and consider repealing the law.
Chanting in English and Spanish, activists raised their voices against Alabama’s immigration law. Legislators have already admitted the law has flaws but they say they can fix them. Protestors say it’s too flawed and needs to be repealed.
Gwendolyn Ferreti, a protestor from Tuscaloosa, says, “It’s written very vaguely and ultimately I don’t think this law is written in the spirit of Alabama and so I don’t support a reform of the law I support a repeal of the law.”
Activists say immigration is caused by international problems that require the attention of lawmakers at the federal level. Some agree immigration reform is needed, but say it should be handled by the U.S. government, not the states.
Zayne Smith, Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice, says “It was to affect undocumented immigrants or so they say but we’ve seen US citizens that are affected by this we’ve seen children that have been bullied in schools, it’s impacting our economy the state of Alabama’s taken a huge hit not only nationally but internationally so it’s time that we repair our image and take up issues that impact all Alabamian’s.”
While immigrants chose to rally on Valentine’s Day to play on the emotions of legislators, the move was not tugging at the heartstrings of some Republican lawmakers.
Senator Scott Beason, (R) District 17, says “Alabama’s anti-illegal immigration law is going to stay in place.”
Beason says there’s no chance of the bill being repealed.
“I’m really surprised that so many people are beating the drum for that but the honest truth is a very small minority, the vast majority of Alabamians are supportive of the law, it’s already done things we’ve said it would do like open up jobs to thousands of people across the state it’s saved untold amounts of money already in state budgets and were going to see the positive effects,” said Beason.
Activists say regardless of what lawmakers do, they will not give up the fight.
“I understand that some legislators may want to do patchwork fixes to whatever they feel needs to be fixed right now but ultimately this is going to be a long term battle and we’re going to be here for the long run,” said Ferreti.
Beason says lawmakers will introduce a bill in the coming weeks that will make subtle changes to the law.