With an estimated 12 millions illegal immigrants in the US, individual states have taken matters into their own hands to try to handle the problem. The US state of Alabama has passed a new legislation which is one of the most stringent immigration laws in the country.
Similar to a law passed in Arizona last year, the law which takes effect on 1 September makes it a crime to give a ride in a car to an illegal immigrant.
It also requires businesses and schools to check the legal status of workers and students, and it will be a crime for landlords to knowingly rent to illegal immigrants.
The measures will be challenged by advocacy groups who call them racist and unconstitutional.
Alabama’s Republican Governor Robert Bentley (photo, from bbcimg.co.uk), signed the bill into law on Thursday and said: “We have a real problem with illegal immigration in this country.
“I campaigned for the toughest immigration laws, and I’m proud of the legislature for working tirelessly to create the strongest immigration bill in the country.”
The move could dissuade some immigrant parents from sending their children to school, for fear of arrest or deportation, said an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union.
The most controversial parts of Arizona’s law, including wider police stop-and-search powers, have been blocked by a district judge due to fears of racial profiling.
That case is expected to end up in the US Supreme Court.