The Southern Poverty Law Center has a message for state legislators across the country who might be considering laws in the vein of Alabama’s tough new anti-immigrant law, HB56: “Remember Alabama.”
“Remember Alabama and its lawmakers,” SPLC legal director Mary Bauer says in a new three-minute video posted on SPLC’s site. “They promised a better tomorrow, but their law left crops rotting in the fields. Farmworkers – regardless of their immigration status – fled the state rather than live under this law. Farmers were left searching for workers as their livelihoods teetered in the balance. Today, farmers from outside Alabama visit the state to see the damage first-hand.”
The video, released Monday, also urges state lawmakers to remember the effects the law has had on Alabama businesses and Latino residents, and the legal battles Alabama has had to fight to defend HB56.
“Legislators here pushed forward with a law that has mired the state in a protracted legal battle with the Department of Justice and an array of civil rights organizations, including the Southern Poverty Law Center,” Bauer says in the video. “The state is now spending its limited resources to defend the indefensible.”
Bauer and the SPLC have aggressively challenged HB56 in court. At this time, a challenge to the law filed by SPLC and the federal government, among others, is awaiting oral arguments at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.
The video is a simple affair, involving shots of Bauer speaking directly to the camera and in voice-over as photos of headlines and pictures are shown with a Ken Burns effect. But Bauer hopes it will be effective in conveying a message to other states.
“Alabama lawmakers promised great things with this law, but this video shows it only brought embarrassment and misery to the state,” Bauer stated in a press release about the video. “We hope this video is circulated far and wide so that when these laws are proposed in other states, legislators and citizens will remember Alabama.”