The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 76/No. 11      March 19, 2012

Rally protests anti-immigrant
laws in Ga., Ala.
ATLANTA—Supporters of immigrant rights filled a courtroom and an overflow area while some 40 picketed outside here March 1. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit was hearing arguments in separate cases challenging recently passed anti-immigrant laws in Georgia and Alabama.

“I am not able to get to my job. Because of this law I cannot get a driver’s license,” Pablo Sanchez, a carpenter, told the Militant at the rally. “We want this law to go away.” Chants in Spanish and English included, “Immigrants are marching here, no papers, no fear.”

The three-judge panel said it would not issue a ruling until the U.S. Supreme Court decides on a federal challenge to Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, expected at the end of April. At the same time that the Barack Obama administration has stepped up attacks on undocumented workers, it is challenging the Alabama, Arizona and Georgia laws for infringing on federal immigration authority.

Thousands of immigrants and their supporters have rallied and marched in both Georgia and Alabama demanding repeal of the laws.

A one-day political strike Oct. 12 by thousands of immigrant workers in Alabama shut down poultry slaughterhouses and other businesses. More than 10,000 turned out in Atlanta July 2 for a protest rally the day after parts of the law went into effect.

In October the 11th Circuit temporarily blocked some parts of the Alabama law, including a requirement for schools to check students’ immigration status. But it left intact sections that make it a felony for undocumented immigrants to do business with the state, including getting a driver’s license, and allow police to check a person’s immigration status during traffic stops.

During the March 1 hearing, Judge Beverly Martin asked Alabama Solicitor General John Neiman if the intent of the law is to force immigrants to leave the state. “I’m not taking the position that that is not the intent,” he replied.
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