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Rep. Gutierrez Joining Alabama Immigration Law Fight

By Prescott Carlson in News on Oct 21, 2011 9:05PM

2011_10_21_gutierrez.jpg Illinois Fourth District Rep. Luis Gutierrez is gearing up for a trip to Alabama this weekend to join in the protest against that state's immigration law, which was upheld in federal court last month.

HB 56, passed in June and colloquially dubbed the "Papers, Please" law by detractors, the Alabama legislation is arguably one of the strictest immigration laws in the United States, with such items as requiring proof of citizenship to vote, banning illegal immigrants from receiving state or local public assistance, and requiring public schools to check the immigration status of students when they enroll for classes.

Gutierrez released a statement which says he will be traveling to Birmingham, AL on Saturday to meet with state leaders to discuss the law, as well as with residents to "see firsthand the impact" of the law has had on their lives. Gutierrez said that the law "seeks to drive immigrants and Latinos from the state," and has "created a huge civil rights crisis."

"When people are scared to send U.S. citizen kids to school because a state has asserted its alleged right to sow discrimination and division, there is something very wrong in America," Gutierrez said. "When local governments deny access to water unless you can prove your status, when judges say you can only press charges against an abusive husband if you are willing to be deported, when a law turns neighbor against neighbor, we have to shine a spotlight on it and say: this is not America."

Gutierrez is also scheduled as the keynote speaker at the Alabama United: One Family, One Alabama Rally on Saturday afternoon, an event put together by the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice which seeks a repeal of the law. The goal of the rally is to "show the unity of the people of Alabama in the face of extreme injustice and man-made disaster."

It's not the Congressman's first foray into the immigration debate -- Gutierrez was arrested in July during an immigration protest in front of the White House.

(via the Birmingham News)