Alabama lawmakers recently made a law that allows law enforcement to arrest people they have a “reasonable suspicion” of being in the country illegally, opening up a can of worms for potential arrests of people who may look different but who are in the country legally.
But the Montgomery Advertiser reports that while the bill was signed into law, it didn’t provide law enforcement any additional money to begin enforcing. The law makes it a crime to knowingly house, give a ride to, rent to or employ an illegal alien. It also gives police the ability to check a person’s legal status after a simple traffic stop.
What Birmingham Criminal Defense Lawyers would like to point out is how important it is for people charged with these crimes to immediately speak with an attorney. Culturally, many people from other countries are distrusting of authority figures and this can include attorneys. But it is critical for an immigrant to keep any crime off their criminal history record as laws are always changing and can affect a person’s legal status years in the future.
And while this new law punishes illegal immigrants, it also goes after those who aid them. While giving rides to hitchhikers is no longer as common as it once was in America, simply giving a ride to an illegal immigrant — whether knowing they are or not — could land someone in jail.
This is a serious new law and must be fought aggressively. No doubt there will be challenges to the law, such as whether it is constitutional or not, but in the mean time, fighting any charges as a result of the law must be made. While many laud it as the toughest immigration law in the country, others have condemned it, such as the Birmingham City Council, according to The Birmingham News.
As for the issue of funding, the law gives local law enforcement up to $50 for fines assessed to undocumented workers arrested for being in the state and up to $250 for legal residents or undocumented workers who give or accept rides to work, the Montgomery Advertiser reports.
The newspaper reports that a federal judge recently blocked several portions of Georgia’s immigration law, including one similar to Alabama’s that allows officers to check the immigration status of those without proper documentation. And there are concerns that a slow-moving federal government could clog county jails with illegal immigrants who are arrested.
While no doubt controversial, this new law is, indeed, law. So, fighting any charges aggressively is critical. And with an experienced Birmingham criminal defense lawyer, being able to convince a judge that the new law is illegal, or that it should be applied differently could make a difference for not just one client, but everyone charged under this new law.
Choosing the right lawyer is critical, especially when a new law is introduced. It is virgin territory and having a lawyer by your side who will spend hours studying the law, looking at ways to fight for you and protecting your rights is critical.
Previous Blog Entries:
Illegal Immigration law Moving Alabama Closer to Arizona: May 13, 2011
Law enforcement unsure about funding in enforcing new immigration law, by Brian Lyman, Montgomery Advertiser
Birmingham City Council condemns Alabama’s new immigration law, by Joseph D. Bryant, The Birmingham News