Phyllis Schlafly
Alabama has suddenly become the leader in comprehensive immigration reform, passing up Arizona, whose laws have had so much news coverage. By large margins, the Alabama state legislature passed a bill, known as HB56, which covers most areas of abuses by illegal aliens.

HB56 requires proof of citizenship or residency before voting, a giant protection against vote fraud. It prohibits aliens not lawfully present in the United States from receiving state or local financial benefits.

Like the Arizona law upheld on May 26 by the U.S. Supreme Court, Alabama's HB56 requires employers to verify the legal status of their employees by using the federal government's E-Verify program. That Arizona law, which has been kicking around in the courts since 2007, was signed by then-Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat, who is now director of the Department of Homeland Security.

E-Verify, which was created by the federal government for voluntary use, can be made mandatory by state law. E-Verify instantly checks workers' Social Security numbers to make sure they are eligible to work, and is so easy and inexpensive for employers to use that more than 99 percent of lawful workers receive positive verification within seconds.

Opponents of the Arizona law that made E-Verify mandatory tried to get supremacist judges to knock it out on the argument that it was pre-empted by federal law. They lost big-time when the Supreme Court ruled that the Arizona law is OK as a business license statute, which is an ordinary power of the states and expressly allowed by federal immigration law.

The employer doesn't commit a crime if he fails to use E-Verify, but he could lose his business license, which the state government has the authority to revoke. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the leading expert in this area of law, observed that "Alabama is now the new No. 1 state for immigration enforcement."

Kobach added: "I have worked closely with Senate and House leadership to ensure that the Alabama law is drafted carefully. It will pass judicial muster if the ACLU and the open-borders crowd decide to take Alabama to court."

The Alabama law has several other provisions that the Arizona law lacks.

HB56 requires public schools in Alabama to ascertain students' immigration status, giving parents of foreign-born children the opportunity to confirm lawful status by providing a sworn statement. It also compels Alabama's public schools to inform taxpayers, who are footing the costs, of the total cost of educating illegal aliens in the schools.

Phyllis Schlafly

Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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