Yesterday, the Alabama legislature passed a bill preserving most of the most overreaching provisions of HB 56, the state’s harsh immigration law, and adding a new requirement that a state agency “post a quarterly list of the names of any undocumented alien who appears in court for a violation of state law, regardless of whether they were convicted.” To his credit, Gov. Robert Bentley (R-AL) expressed serious reservations about the bill, explaining that the legislature should remove the new provision and another existing provision discouraging children from attending school:
“There were some things added (to the bill) that I think is a public relations problem that I would like to deal with,” Bentley said at a news conference.
Specifically, a portion of the bill that asks Homeland Security to publish the names of those arrested under the law.
“It does not make it a better bill,” he said.
He also wants changes to how public schools collect information from students.
“I just don’t want children to be asked about the parents’ legal status,” Bentley said.
It’s good news that Bentley wants to remove at least one of the worst parts of HB 56 — the provision that led 7 percent of the Hispanic students in Alabama public schools to skip school the day after the law went into effect — be repealed. Nevertheless, he’s coming to this party very late. Bentley signed the original HB 56 nearly one year ago.
Initial reports that Bentley vetoed the bill appear to be erroneous. CNN now reports that “[r]ather than sign it into law or veto it, Gov. Robert Bentley summoned lawmakers to take up the bill one more time.”