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November 17th, 2011
09:47 AM ET

Opinion: Jim Crow revisited through Alabama's immigration law

Editor's note: Martin Luther King III is president and chief executive officer of The King Center in Atlanta. Richard Trumka is president of the AFL-CIO.

By Martin Luther King III and Richard Trumka, Special to CNN

(CNN) - It is one of the painful ironies of our time that in the same season Martin Luther King Jr.'s memory is finally honored with a memorial in our nation's capital, the state where he began to lead the civil rights movement is once more the center of an ugly conflict over racial injustice.

The passage of Alabama's anti-immigrant legislation, HB 56, invokes inhumanity reminiscent of the Jim Crow South. And the police state it has created is equally cruel.

If the law stands, children will be denied admission to public schools if they can't prove their citizenship, and schools will be turned into enforcement operations. Poor people of color will be ripped from their families if they are caught in public without their papers in order. Samaritans and people of conscience who employ, harbor or help undocumented workers will be severely punished.

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soundoff (One Response)
  1. tare

    There is no legitimate comparison, illegal immigrants must all be sent back to where they came from in order to protect ourselves. Simple self defense! Our governments' first and foremost important responsibility is to protect us. While illegal immigrants may not have threatened us in the past, when we could afford to support them, those days are past us now. It is time to get serious about our own rights, our own education, our own retirements our own medical coverage... No people, especially illegal ones, have the right to steal our money and our future. I have the right to see my money benefiting legitimate American interests, not being used on illegal people. It does not even matter if they have committed any other crimes – they have no legitimate reason to be here in the first place. These people are here only because of greed – a better life can be found in the USA so they come. Without tougher immigration laws this country will fail. The economic conditions in this country will only get worse until we stop the bleeding of our money into the poor people of the entire world.

    November 18, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |