In Alabama, it could be Jim Crow all over again

Flash back to the 1950s when Alabama may have been the most dangerous place in the country to be a person of color, at least one who thought he or she should be afforded basic human rights.

Flash forward to 2011 when some are saying Alabama is again the most dangerous place in the country for a person of color. As Alabama’s new immigration law has just been signed and is about to be implemented, rights groups from the American Civil Liberties Union to the Southern Law Poverty Center are crying foul and promising litigation.

The law, which goes into effect Sept. 1, mandates that law enforcement investigate anyone it deems to be “reasonably suspicious” and calls on everyone from doctors to teachers to try and determine the immigration status of anyone they reasonably feel might not be in the country legally.

From The Arab American News:

On Dec. 1, 1955, at the height of racial segregation in the United States, a little-known middle-aged seamstress named Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery City bus in the southern state of Alabama.

Governor Rober Bentley signs House Bill 56 in Alabama. The bill is similar or perhaps worse than the infamous “Arizona Law” according to many observers.

Her small act of civil disobedience sparked the now-legendary Montgomery bus boycott, which has become an iconic moment in the civil rights movement that marked the beginning of the end of the racist Jim Crow laws in 1968.

Now activists say the signing of a draconian piece of anti- immigration legislature on Thursday has turned the once-historic site in the struggle for civil liberties and racial justice into the most dangerous place in the country for immigrants and people of color.

From an article on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s web site:

But in addition to the main elements of Arizona’s widely derided S.B. 1070, which encourages racial profiling, this new law places innocent children in the crosshairs. Every public school will be forced to determine, at the time of enrollment, whether a student is an undocumented immigrant or the child of an undocumented immigrant. Even though the law itself won’t block children from attending public school, the prospect of this schoolhouse inquisition will have a chilling effect on immigrant children enrolling in school.

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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