Several groups disrupted a field hearing by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Friday morning in Birmingham by shouting in English and Spanish and holding up signs. One group of “undocumented, unafraid” protestors was escorted out of the hearing at the Birmingham Sheraton by security.
The protestors stood up during testimony to the Commission by Kris Kobach, one of the primary authors of the anti-immigration laws in Arizona and Alabama. “You lie,” a young female protestor said while Kris Kobach was asserting that racial profiling was not allowed under the laws he authored. “It’s a shame you invited him and him.” Alabama state Sen. Scott Beason, sponsor of Alabama’s anti-immigrant law, HB56, was also on the first panel in the Commission’s morning hearings, along with Alabama state Rep. Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa) and Georgia state Rep. Stacey Abrams.
After the first group of protestors left, another group began to disrupt the hearings. These were an older group of four protestors who said they were undocumented—Maria Cruz and Gerardo Torres of Phoenix, Arizona, and Maria Huerta and man who just went by Jose, from California. They stood up one by one, each holding a sign with the word “UNDOCUMENTED” printed on it.
“What you are doing is just hurting all of our community,” shouted one protestor. “These laws are based on hate. The only safety you want is in your pockets and in your bank account. I’m undocumented and I’m not afraid.”
The commission had to call for security to escort the “undocumented, unafraid” protestors out of the hearing. They left peacefully and gathered on the sidewalk outside the Sheraton.
“I’m here for my dignity, my community, my family, my personally, my everything,” Cruz told Weld.
The field hearings continue all day Friday and include supporters and detractors of state-based immigration laws. Follow @WeldBham on Twitter for live coverage.