Under sweeping new Alabama immigration laws, public schools will be required to determine the citizenship status of all students and it will be deemed a crime to transport a known illegal immigrant.
The new laws, due to come into affect September 1, will also give police the power to arrest any person they stop, if they suspect they have violated immigration laws.
The new immigration bill is being heralded as the toughest crackdown in the nation. Republican governor Robert Bentley signed the new bill into law on Thursday.
“We have a real problem with illegal immigration in this country,” Bentley said at the bill signing. “I campaigned for the toughest immigration laws, and I’m proud of the legislature for working tirelessly to create the strongest immigration bill in the country.”
Alabama is home to an estimated 120,000 illegal immigrants according to the Pew Hispanic Center.
Reacting to the new bill, immigration advocates described it as “racist."
“It is clearly unconstitutional. It’s mean-spirited, racist, and we think a court will enjoin it,” said Mary Bauer, legal director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, The Associated Press reported.
New immigration fingerprint program rejected by Illinois, New York and Massachusetts
Irish leader says comprehensive immigration reform likely dead