WASHINGTON – Karen K. Narasaki, president and executive director of the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, issued the following statement Nov. 21 in support of the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice’s statewide campaign against HB 56:
AAJC is proud to support the launch of the “One Family, One Alabama” campaign that seeks to repeal HB 56, an incredibly harsh anti-immigrant law that has devastated immigrant communities across Alabama.
We also commend the members of Congress, including Reps. Joe Baca (D-San Bernardino), Yvette C. Clarke (D-N.Y.), Charlie Gonzalez (D-Texas), Al Green (D-Texas), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose), Grace Napolitano (D-Santa Fe Springs), Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) and Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas), for traveling to Alabama to stand with community members and bear witness to their struggles.
Along with numerous leading national civil and immigrant rights organizations, AAJC is co-counsel to the litigation challenging the constitutionality of HB 56. Alabama is home to a growing Asian American community — more than 76,000 — and we are deeply concerned that HB 56 will impact this emerging community.
The Department of Justice is also suing Alabama to stop HB 56, a law that impermissibly infringes on the federal government’s authority over immigration law. Even though many provisions of HB 56 have been blocked by the courts as the result of the ongoing litigation, it is clear that every day immigrants, both documented and undocumented, are suffering because of this law.
Immigrants are increasingly fearful that any contact with police could lead to deportation. Laws like HB 56, and similar anti-immigrant legislation that passed in Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina and Utah, require police to investigate immigration status and ultimately lead to racial profiling due to snap judgments based on a person’s appearance, race, ethnicity or accent.
Racial profiling is counterproductive because it wastes law enforcement’s scarce resources and undermines community trust in law enforcement. Ultimately, profiling makes all Alabamans less safe.
Now is the time for elected officials, business and faith leaders, educators and other advocates from around the country to join Alabamans of good conscience in supporting efforts to repeal this hateful law. HB 56 is destroying communities and families — and it must be repealed now.