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Immigrants ICEA recent court settlement in Alabama should serve as a warning to North Carolina legislators who still seek to pass anti-immigrant laws. Alabama agreed to settle two law suits brought against it after the passage of its harsh anti-immigrant law, HB 56, in 2011.  Both immigrants’ rights groups and the U.S. Department of Justice sued Alabama over different parts of the law, and both those suits settled last week.

Previously many of the harshest provisions of the Alabama law had already been temporarily blocked by courts, and in the new settlement, Alabama agreed that those provisions would never go into effect, including a provision requiring public schools to verify the immigration status of students, and one preventing all contracts with undocumented immigrants. The permanent blocking of those harmful provisions is a huge victory for immigrants in Alabama and across the nation.

Most of the parts of the law that are now permanently blocked in Alabama never made it into North Carolina’s omnibus immigration bill, HB 786, which was proposed in 2013.  However, several provisions in Alabama’s law were identical or similar to those proposed here, and their fate in this recent settlement should be of interest to state lawmakers.

North Carolina legislators, for example, Read More

In a column entitled “Tarheels down,” publisher H. Brandt Ayers of Alabama’s Anniston Star newspaper (a former N. C. newspaper reporter) pulls no punches in slamming North Carolina’s 2013 right-wing public policy revolution:

“LAKE TOXAWAY, N. C. — After decades of touting North Carolina as a model of state governance, I am sad to say that it has caught up with Alabama in a race to the bottom.

‘North Carolina was once considered a beacon of farsightedness in the South … In a few short months Republicans have begun to dismantle a reputation that took years to build,’ a New York Times editorial concluded.

A Republican ‘super majority,’ like Alabama’s, has drastically cut the number of people allowed to vote, cut the education budget by one-half billion dollars, installed the failed school-voucher policy, threatened academic freedom and said, in effect, science is illegitimate.

Not since the Taliban blew up the centuries-old monuments to Afghan civilization has there been such an undoing of structures that made a state proud and effective….”

Click here to read the rest of Ayers’ column.

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What is it about the far right and its longstanding infatuation with the Deep South? Hardly a day goes by in which some right-wing think tanker isn’t lambasting North Carolina for somehow failing to “keep up” with the tax-slashing or anti-environmental policies of one of its southern neighbors.

Pardon me, but have any of these guys ever been to Alabama? Or Mississippi? Or Louisiana? Frankly, it’s hard to believe that they would really think of those states as models of progress if they ever had.

Now, today, the Pope-Civitas Institute is lauding Alabama’s anti-immigrant hate law (the one that led to the detention of  Mercedes-Benz exec) and attempting to argue (albeit unsuccessfully) that it is somehow responsible for a miracle turnaround in state employment statistics in the Heart of Dixie. Read More