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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Alabama and the Latino exodus

Posted By on Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 11:44 AM


When I think of Alabama, images of the KKK, overt racism, and segregation flood my mind. I wish it wasn't the case, but it has been for as long as my memory serves. Still, I never thought I'd see the day when the state would reinvent itself as an epicenter of a new civil rights war.

Since Senator Scott Beason sponsored the state's harsh new immigration law, Mexican immigrants and their families have fled the entire state of Alabama in droves. Not taking any chances if even one family member is undocumented, they're making their ways to Texas, Arkansas, Mexico - anywhere but Alabama, where simply existing without proof of citizenship is a crime.

The mass exodus continues to tear at the very fabric of Alabama's economy, particularly where its agriculture is concerned. Farmers are at the risk of losing their farms as their crops continue to rot because the migrant workers they've employed for years have left the state.

While the livelihood of the farmers hangs in the balance, many political officials in Alabama continue to voice their support of the law and its outcome. According to Albertville City Councilman Chuck Ellis, "A large portion of the illegal Hispanic community has moved, self-deportation is a real thing. It is amazing to see the effects."

Ellis also added that the high absentee rate of Latino students would give Alabama teachers more time to focus on other students. It seems Ellis views this law as a path to both immigration and education reform. Two birds, one stone.

Welcome to Alabama. Population: No Mexicans.

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