Something is very wrong in the Land of Cotton



Dr. Robert Bullard
Environmental Justice Movement Founder

Friday, November 18, 2011

Congressman Gutierrez Heading to Alabama With Nine Member Delegation Against HB 56


Rep. Gutierrez: "I am going to Alabama to stand with the good, decent people of
Alabama to fight back and defend what I think is right and just."

November 17, 2011

Media Contact: Douglas Rivlin (202) 225-8203


(Washington, DC) --
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and nine other House Democrats are traveling to Alabama on Monday for an ad hoc hearing on immigration and Alabama's HB56 immigration law.  A group of five of those traveling held a press conference today in Washington to discuss the trip.  In addition to Rep. Gutierrez, who chairs the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, those speaking at today's press conference included Terri A. Sewell of Alabama, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Charlie Gonzalez of Texas, Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Raul Grijalva of Arizona, Rep. Joe Baca of California, and Rep. Silvestre Reyes of Texas.

[Completing the delegation, but not present at today's press conference, are: Secretary of the Congressional Black Caucus Yvette D. Clarke of New York; Rep. Al Green of Texas; Immigration Subcommittee Ranking Democrat Zoe Lofgren of California; and Rep. Grace Napolitano of California.]

Details of the planned trip on Monday November 21, including the hearing in the Birmingham City Council Chambers and an evening event at the historic 16th Street Baptist Church, can be found on Rep. Gutierrez' website.

The following are the remarks of Congressman Gutierrez at today's press conference:

Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez Opening Statement as Prepared for Delivery:

As you know, a group of nine Members of Congress is traveling to Birmingham, Alabama for a series of events on Monday.

We will hold an Ad Hoc hearing at 3 p.m. in the chambers of the Birmingham City Council to hear from residents.  While some of the details are still coming together, we will have a range of people offer their testimony: local elected leaders and law-enforcement, families, educators, farmers, and small business owners and the like.

We want a range of people who fit into categories including those who were the intended targets of Alabama's law, but we also want to hear from and those who have proven to be targets, perhaps unintentionally, as the law has begun to be implemented.

After the hearing we will meet with leaders of the immigrant advocacy and civil rights community in Birmingham and across the state at a private meeting at the Civil Rights Institute.

Then we will walk across the street to the historic 16th Street Baptist Church -- the church where four little girls were killed by an assassin's bomb -- and at 7 p.m. there will be a huge rally that marks the kick off of the "One Alabama" statewide campaign to repeal the law.

I was in Alabama in October and I came back to Washington and said to my colleagues, "you have got to go and see for yourself."  In other states we have seen anti-immigration bills pass, but in Alabama it has triggered something unique.  The fear and chaos in a small, not very well established Latino and immigrant community has run deeper.  The feeling of danger and despair is palpable, perhaps owing to Alabama's history of dogs and water cannons and bombings and worse.

But that same history also gave me a great deal of hope.  All across the state I met people at rallies, at the NAACP state convention, at the Spanish language radio station, and I got a sense that the history of fighting for justice and fighting for basic rights is still alive in Alabama.

Indeed, a lot of what we know about social movements, about social change and fighting for justice, we learned from the people of Alabama less than a generation ago.

We are seeing what happens when Congress is prevented from passing immigration reform for a decade or two decades.  We see the reaction on the ground to an immigration system that is a quarter century out of date.

Ironically, the Republican Party in Alabama that pushed this law through is the same Republican Party that has actively blocked immigration reform in Washington.  And those few Republicans with whom I and Senator Kennedy and others worked with across the aisle have all drifted away from the negotiating table.

In particular, Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, in his role on the Judiciary Committee, has played a substantial role in obstructing immigration reform along with a handful of Southern Republican Senators.

In order to get control of immigration, we need to strengthen legal immigration and make sure enforcement is both firm and fair.

In order to get control over immigration we have to get immigrants who live and work here into the system and on-the-books because we simply will not deport of drive out 10 million people who have deep roots, family, property, and lives here.

But Republicans, often led by *Senator Sessions of Alabama, have prevented us from moving from the current chaos and blackmarket to a modern, efficient and legal immigration system because they think immigration is a good political football.

Perhaps more so than anyone going on this trip, I have been critical of the President because of the one million people he has deported, but I am pleased that the Justice Department is fighting against unconstitutional laws in Alabama, Arizona, South Carolina and elsewhere.  We simply cannot have 50 separate immigration laws and the Constitution is clear about that.

We will hold President Obama and Secretary Napolitano accountable for sticking to the federal policies they laid out that put a priority on deporting criminals so we can get bad people out of our communities.  That means standing up to and not cooperating with the state policies that create broad roundups based on appearance or make it a crime to work or take your children to the library.

Anti-immigration laws at the state and local level come with tremendous costs…

-- in terms of the slowed economy, businesses that fail and millions of tax dollars paid to lawyers to defend against lawsuits.

-- in political terms, these laws have changed the way America thinks about Arizona and Alabama and whether they are modern states or backward-looking ones.

-- and at the local level -- from family to family, business to business, and town to town, the divisiveness of playing politics with such an important issue carries a huge cost to the very fabric of a community.

There is a very high moral cost. 

I am going to Alabama to stand with the good, decent people of Alabama to fight back and defend what I think is right and just.

*GOP Showdown With Justice Department Over Immigration 
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  1. It's about time!
    I bet the sheets and powdered wig crowd just hate this.
    Is Mr. Kobach coming? Or is he dodging bullets for getting a legislator recalled from office in Arizona who was stupid enough to listen to the Koback and ALEC wailing?

  2. I can just hear it know all over the state-damn liberal interlopers telling us whut to do.
    Yeah they said that in the 1950's too.
    Come on in Gutierrez and welcome!

  3. Didn't the hero of the right Ronald Reagan see the impracticality of deporting millions of illegals? The costs would be staggering!
    I agree with the representative from Illinois: get rid of the criminal element and find a path to citizenship for the rest.
    It's the only sane approach.
    Of course if you're Congressman Mo Brooks you may have other murderous ideas.

  4. Congressman Gutierrez is doing the right thing. Let us pray the state law makers will see how horrible they are behaving and how easy it is to step up for what is right, know right from wrong in all of things and stop this hateful law they have passed.

  5. And so it begins Lily.

    "Stay the hell out of my state you morons! We love out immigration law and it's NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!"


  6. The south will rise again to the always low bar of shame.

  7. Live chat with Birmingham News Joey Kennedy November 16th:

    Beason Gets The Boot

    Comment From Guest
    Joey, a few weeks ago you made the claim that children at a Birmingham City School were questioned about their citizenship and that a Birmingham City school official said "they looked illegal." When asked to identify the school and school official, you said a Birmingham News reporter was working on the story and you didn't want to steal his thunder. It has been almost a month since you made the original comment. Where is that story?

    Joey Kennedy:
    I don't know, but there has been an official complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Education's Civil Rights Division about that very post. It's a Birmingham city school. I've seen the letter. The school is Avondale.


    Avondale is a high black minority school and not immune from scrutiny Mr. Kennedy.

  8. Avondale Elementary
    Dr. Ann Curry, Principal

  9. Joey is too much enamored with Dr. Witherspoon to risk his ire I think.
    Or maybe it's something else we can't think of but it's a missed opportunity to expose a bigger issue that even minorities can exhibit intolerance against each other thanks to this horrible law.

  10. Dr. Ann Curry, Principal of Avondale Elementary and from the school website - Where we "EXPECT THE BEST"

    Dr. Curry, you might want to take this down or make some changes. It's not a good example to set for the children when you are not truthful.

    'Avondale School, located in Birmingham, Alabama, serves grades K-5 in the Birmingham City School District. Based on its state test results, it has received a GreatSchools Rating of 3 out of 10.'

    'The school community has reviewed this school and given it an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars.'

    3 out of 10 is defined as great. Huh?


    See for yourself...I am not so creative as to make this stuff up.

  11. Jeffco, the biggest issue is that the Mules are always ready to exploit difference and maintain division among natural allies while they laugh all the way to the bank.
    And my experience is that Birmingham School policy does not condone intolerance.
    What is important right now is to see how an effort to scapegoat and demonize, well funded by the corporate prison industry and promoted by demagogues and extremist ideologues has led to a situation of terror for some and economic distress for more and, at minimum, inconvenience for many.
    So-called leaders have implemented measures aimed at a small portion of the population, whose contributions to the state equal, if not outweigh, any costs. They have prioritized hate and fear over jobs, education, healthcare, mass transit and transparent government. Shame.

  12. That was very, very well said Let's Get Real, however, the Avondale situation must and should be followed up on with some hard questions and honest answers.

  13. Way to go you idiots! No doubt this will really help the economic recruitment efforts by arresting an executive with one of Alabama's top employers.

    Stupid law passed by stupid politicians!!!

    Mercedes Manager From Germany Arrested in Alabama

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. November 19, 2011 (AP)
    6:28 pm CST

    A German manager with Mercedes-Benz is free after being arrested for not having a driver's license with him under Alabama's new law targeting illegal immigrants, police said Friday.

    Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steven Anderson told The Associated Press an officer stopped a rental vehicle for not having a tag Wednesday night and asked the driver for his license. The man only had a German identification card, so he was arrested and taken to police headquarters, Anderson said.

    The 46-year-old executive was charged with violating the immigration law for not having proper identification, but he was released after an associate retrieved his passport, visa and German driver's license from the hotel where he was staying, Anderson said.

    It wasn't immediately known how long the man was in custody or the status of his court case.

    The law — parts of which were put on hold amid legal challenges — requires that police check citizenship status during traffic stops and take anyone who doesn't have proper identification to a magistrate. Anderson said that's what was done, but someone in the same situation wouldn't have been arrested before the law took effect.

    "If it were not for the immigration law, a person without a license in their possession wouldn't be arrested like this," he said. Previously, drivers who lacked licenses received a ticket and a court summons, according to Anderson.

    Mercedes-Benz spokeswoman Felyicia Jerald said the man is from Germany and was visiting Alabama on business. The company's first U.S. assembly plant is located just east of Tuscaloosa.

    "This was an unfortunate situation, but the incident was resolved when our colleague ... was able to provide his driver's license and other documents to Tuscaloosa police," Jerald said.

  14. Oops. Someone is going to get it for that brilliant step in it.

  15. Damn fools. They didn't read the bill and passed it anyway because it sounded good to their core voting group.
    Who's next? Hyuandi? Thyssen Krupp?

  16. ALGOP lies and lies and lies.

    Majority Leader: Immigration Law Helping Alabamians Find Jobs

    The dramatic decline in Alabama’s unemployment rate shows that the state’s strict immigration law is helping more Alabamians find jobs, House Majority Leader Rep. Micky Hammon (R-Decatur) said today.

    Gov. Robert Bentley announced Friday that Alabama’s unemployment rate for October was 9.3 percent, down from 9.8 percent in September. In Marshall County, a known hotbed for illegal immigrant labor, unemployment was at 8.1 percent for October, down from 8.8 percent in September and 10 percent in June, when Alabama’s crackdown on illegal immigration was signed into law.

    “We’ve heard anecdotal evidence from all corners of the state about how more Alabama citizens are being hired in jobs formerly held by illegal immigrants, but the statewide and county-specific data released today is probably the best statistical proof we’ve seen to indicate this is happening,” Rep. Hammon said. “There are many factors that come into play for employment numbers. However, take Marshall County, where the illegal immigrant problem has probably been more pronounced than anywhere in the state. When Marshall County’s unemployment rate drops almost a full two percent since the law was signed, it’s difficult to deny the law is having a positive effect on employment.”

    Other counties where illegal immigration has been a problem saw precipitous drops in unemployment as well, including Morgan County, where the rate declined a full 1.1 percent from September to October.

    Though opponents of Alabama’s immigration law have done all they can to discredit its economic benefits, the numbers tell a different story, Rep. Hammon said.

    “Despite how desperately illegal immigrant sympathizers have tried to portray this law as somehow harmful to our state’s economy, the truth is more Alabamians are working today thanks in part to our decision to crackdown on illegal immigration,” he said. “The evidence is clear: this law is helping put more Alabamians back to work, and that’s why such a strong majority of Alabamians support it.”

  17. Way to go Micky Hammon!!!! hahahaha How dumb do you want us to know you are? hahahaha

  18. i'myourhuckleberryNovember 18, 2011 at 7:41 PM

    I just have one question for the Alabama republicans: was it really worth all the sh*t you're putting us through with your hateful, divisive and holier than thou garbage legislation?
    You clowns have managed to get a Mercedes big wig arrested, set us up for huge cash bleeding defending the law, scared the crap out of kids who are legal citizens, run off foreign corporations, made our state the laughing stock of the country and reeled us all the way back to the 1960's all in on fell swoop.
    Brilliant boys, just frickin' brilliant.

  19. Hola i'myourhuckleberry!!! Don't forget the Olympics want their rings back.
    wa hahaha

  20. So Senator Beason and Representative Hammon go hire the Kansas Kris Kobach i.e. KKK, to write HB 56 for free, and Kobach says he may charge in the future to help defend the law.
    "Kobach said he was not compensated for his work on the Alabama law but may, at some point, be paid for legal work defending it in court."
    Anybody seeing the switcheroo right in front of you here? Who's really profiting off this law?

  21. Give Jam a prize! The SPLC has a narrative and report on Kobach that is eye-opening for sure.

    "Even if the motives of Kobach are otherwise, the experience of those towns that have collaborated with him should serve as a stark warning. After the city of Albertville, Ala., decided against working with Kobach based on his track record, the publisher of the local Sand Mountain Reporter summed it up like this: “I fear Mr. Kobach targets towns like ours, and towns like Hazleton, Pa., Valley Park, Mo., and Farmers Branch, Texas, as financial windfalls. I think he preys on the legitimate concerns, the irrational fears and even some bigoted attitudes to convince cities to hire him to represent their interests in lawsuits that may not be winnable.”

    Mr. Kobach is shorting his constituents and poking his nose into way too much business outside of Kansas.


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