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ACLU: Anti-Immigrant Bill Will Hurt TN Economy

Statement from American Civil Liberties Union; Jan. 24, 2012: 

As we move into the third week of the legislative session, we are already reviewing a number of bills that undermine fair treatment and due process for immigrants. First up this week: the Arizona-style copycat bill that encourages racial and ethnic profiling will be heard in the House General Subcommittee of Finance, Ways and Means on Wednesday afternoon.

HB 1380/SB780 requires all law enforcement to question the immigration status of any person they stop, regardless of whether the person is actually charged with breaking a law. The bill implies that police will be trained to ask people for their “papers” based on an undefined “reasonable suspicion” that they are in this country unlawfully. The criteria for assessing such a suspicion will inevitably be accent, attire, hair, jewelry or skin color.

Tell your lawmakers that this intolerant bill is completely out of step with our values of fairness and equality.

Economically, this bill will really hurt Tennessee. In addition to the loss of revenue from depressed tourism and economic development, as seen in Arizona, the bill’s fiscal note increases state and local expenditures by nearly $5 million in the first year alone.

Let your representatives know that they should stop wasting money to create a police state based on unconstitutional racial profiling.

Alabama, Tennessee’s neighbor to the south, passed a similarly egregious anti-immigrant bill last year that has faced legal challenges from the ACLU and our allies, as well as the Department of Justice. Additional states that have enacted Arizona-copycat laws such as Utah, Indiana, Georgia and South Carolina, have likewise faced legal challenges and had numerous provisions found unconstitutional. Not only do these laws preempt federal law by misappropriating immigration enforcement as a state power, they offend our values of fair treatment and due process.

Please contact your representative to let him/her know that HB1380/SB780 is bad for Tennessee and that s/he should oppose the legislation.

Thank you for using your voice in support of justice for all.

Hedy Weinberg

Executive Director, ACLU of Tennessee

2 replies on “ACLU: Anti-Immigrant Bill Will Hurt TN Economy”

I guess Hedy Weinberg hasn’t seen the latest unemployment stats from Alabama, where unemployment has been plunging fast since the state enacted tough new laws designed to combat illegal immigration. In the last 3 months, unemployment has dropped twice as fast in Alabama as in Tennessee, and even faster compared to other neighboring states.

It appears that as illegals have left the state, citizens and legal residents have suddenly been able to find jobs again.

Imagine that.

We should copy Alabama’s law to that more of our citizens and legal residents can find jobs.

By the way, more citizens and legal residents working is GOOD for the economy.

Not so fast, Bill.

According to at least one Alabama economist, a significant portion of this drop may have resulted from people giving up hope in their job searches and dropping out of the workforce. It’s at least possible that these figures have nothing to do with HB56 and the crisis it created, and much more to do with the inhospitable business climate in Alabama that forced workers out of the labor market (perhaps into lovely Tennessee).

Man, who would argue such a crazy thing?

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