Alabama’s attempt to revise its breathtakingly harsh anti-immigrant law, HB 56, could come up for a vote this week in the Senate, Sen. Scott Beason’s office confirmed. The movement comes just weeks after the Supreme Court heard oral arguments over Arizona’s SB 1070, which HB 56 was largely based on. In the face of national outrage and the host of lawsuits HB 56 ignited, Alabama senators have been hammering out what the revisions would look like, but immigrant rights advocates say that the revisions do not address the basic civil rights concerns with the law, and instead worsen the anti-immigrant provisions of HB 56.
Sen. Beason and Rep. Micky Hammon have been working on a compromise that would merge the two lawmakers’ attempts at revising HB 56, which went several steps further than Arizona’s SB 1070 at criminalizing life for undocumented immigrants in the state. The issue now is how much the state should tinker with the key “reasonable suspicion” provisions which compel law enforcement officers to ask anyone about their immigration status if they believe a person may be undocumented.
Under one version of the revisions, police officers who stop a car would now need to ask all passengers about their status, and not just the driver. Another provision would allow detentions of suspected undocumented immigrants to last 48 hours, double the 24 hours allowed under HB 56.
Alabama’s HB 56, signed into law last year, has been challenged by the Department of Justice and a coalition of civil rights organizations. Immigrant rights advocates continue to push for a full repeal of HB 56.