• Adventures In Bad Policy: Mexican-Free Edition.

    Anyone remember Alabama's House Bill 56? It's the infamous state-enacted immigration law written to target "illegal immigration," only to open the doors to the specter of increased ethnic profiling of the state's Latino population. Arizona's SB 1070 has nothing on what the folks on Goat Hill cooked up:

    The Alabama state legislature passed a controversial new immigration bill on June 9 that requires public schools to check students’ immigration status, criminalizes giving an undocumented immigrant a ride, requires employers to use E-Verify to check potential employees’ status, and instructs police to check the immigration status of anyone they stop if they suspect the person of being an undocumented immigrant.

    The law is alarmingly tough, eclipsing Arizona's SB 1070 by several measures—including, among other punishments, incarceration and fines for anyone who knowingly employs, harbors, or transports illegal immigrants. Giving an undocumented immigrant a ride to work, offering them shelter, offering them sacrament: All of these acts are, with just the slightest interpretation, criminalized in the bill.

    A federal judge is set to rule on the validity of the law today, as the order set down to block Alabama's enforcement of the law expires tomorrow.

    As it stands, the law's had a pretty big economic impact on the farming industry in Alabama and other states that enacted similar laws. Latino workers, illegal or not, have pulled up stakes and left for elsewhere, leaving farmers in a jam when it comes to finding cheap labor. Apparently, the natives aren't up to 12 to 14 hours of back-breaking sunup-to-sundown labor for $7.50/hr, at least not without adding an extra $10/hr to that figure. Even the convicts and probationers aren't up to the job.

    EDIT: Judge allows key parts of immigration law to stand:

    A federal judge refused Wednesday to block key parts of Alabama's new law targeting illegal immigrants, including its requirements to check the immigration status of juvenile students in public schools and for police to verify the status of those they suspect of being in the county illegally.

    U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn blocked some other parts of the law, which both supporters and critics say is the nation's toughest clampdown on illegal immigration by a state.

    Blackburn wrote in her ruling that federal law doesn't prohibit the law's provisions on students or suspects pulled over by police. She didn't say when those and other parts of the law could take effect, but her previous order blocking enforcement expires on Thursday.