The Common Good

Alabama Immigration Law Unjust, Immoral, Bad For Business

Source: Sojourners
Date: October 19, 2011


October 19, 2011
Carrie Adams: (202)745-4654 (office);
Jack Palmer: (202) 745-4625 (office);


Rev. Jim Wallis And Sojourners Respond To Effects Of Anti-Immigrant Law

Washington, DC October 19, 2011 - In June, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed into law legislation that harshly discriminates against immigrants. While the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta issued an injunction on October 14th, some of the most egregious provisions of the bill include: requiring schools to check the immigration status of students and parents, and report those they suspect of being undocumented; mandating that police officers ask anyone they believe could be undocumented to prove their immigration status; and making it unlawful for anyone to engage in contracts - including child support, loans, and rental agreements - with an undocumented person, plus making current contracts null and void.

"The Alabama law is not only mean-spirited, unjust, and racist, but it is also morally indefensible,” Rev. Wallis, president and CEO of Sojourners, said. "Enforcement without compassion is cruel and ineffective. The results of this immoral law will be families torn apart and an immigrant community being forced further into the shadows and marginalized. As Christians, we refuse to comply with laws that attempt to keep us from showing love for our neighbors and the marginalized.”

Immigrant advocates have already reported that thousands of children who are undocumented or who have undocumented family members have stopped attending school for fear of deportation. Crimes are going unreported in communities with undocumented immigrants as victims and witnesses fear deportation or arrest, and the immigrant community is surrounded by "deputized” ICE agents, including neighbors, banks, utilities, school teachers, and even churches.

"Christians ultimately follow a higher moral law than what a state legislature might pass. We are commanded by God to welcome the 'stranger' and help those in need,” says Lisa Sharon Harper, Sojourners Director of Mobilizing and co-author of the new book, Left, Right & Christ. "If someone is in need it is the responsibility of Christians to help, whether or not the person in need can prove their immigration status. Christians can and should break this unjust law and call our political leaders to find a lasting solution to our broken immigration system.”

Religious leaders are planning further action to protest Alabama's immigration law.

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Jim Wallis is the president and CEO of Sojourners, the largest network of progressive Christians in the United States focused on the biblical call to social justice. Wallis is also author of the New York Times bestsellers God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It and The Great Awakening: Seven Ways To Change The World, Reviving Faith & Politics. His latest book is Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street.