On the Rise in Alabama
The law was written to deny immigrants without papers the ability to work or travel, to own or rent a home, to enter contracts of any kind. Fear is causing an exodus as Latinos abandon homes and jobs and crops in the fields. Utilities are preparing to shut off water, power and heat to customers who cannot show the right papers.
But if there is any place where bigotry does not go unrecognized, it is
“It is a fear of folks who are not like us,” said Judge U. W. Clemon, a former state senator and
There are, of course, significant distinctions between the civil rights movement and the fight for immigrant rights. African-Americans have endured 400 years of oppression, and toppled laws created to deny their equality and to brutalize them. Unauthorized immigrants are a group who arrived by choice, mostly. They are living outside the law, and want in.
Yet to those, like Judge Clemon, a civil rights foot soldier who fought Bull Connor and George Wallace, the common thread between then and now — the threat of racial profiling and the abuse of a cheap, exploited work force — is obvious, as is the racism driving the law.
A sponsor of the legislation, State Senator Scott Beason, chairman of the Rules Committee, was secretly taped by the F.B.I. talking about black residents of
And, just as in the early days of the civil rights struggle, the oppressed and their advocates are scrambling to respond. Early this month, organizers from
This fledgling movement has been embraced by the N.A.A.C.P., whose leaders in
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs