Arizona's controversial immigration law is currently tied up in the courts. The law allows authorities the right to ask for proof of identification if they suspect someone is an illegal alien. But could a similar law be passed here?
Right now, lawmakers in Florida are preparing to introduce a bill that is similar to the law in Arizona. Some Alabama legislators are also interested in passing Arizona-style laws.
News 4 spoke with one local business owner who says because of illegal immigration, he can't compete. But he's not sure deportation is the answer.
“I really don't have any problem with people coming to this country to work as long as, you know, they come over here legally and have the proper paperwork,”
Danny Miller owns and operates a dry wall company in Dothan. He claims his business is suffering because his competition hires illegal aliens and he won't.
“Our business is probably down 50 percent because the economy is down.Then you take another 20 to 30 percent of the contracts we lose to the people that aren't properly paper-worked, basically my business is down 75 percent,” said Miller.
“It makes me feel mad, I mean I got citizens calling me in a daily basis, contractors call me here in Dothan that are being outbid on jobs by contractors using illegal immigrants. I think people are fed up with illegal immigration,” said Houston County Sheriff Andy Hughes.
Sheriff Hughes says because the federal government is dragging its feet on the issue, some states, like Arizona, may need to take matters into their own hands.
“I think it's a good law, Arizona was forced into that position. You know Phoenix has the highest kidnapping rate in the country. The Phoenix Police Department had to create their own kidnapping division,” said Sheriff Hughes.
Others disagree with the Arizona law.
“That’s illegal; I mean anyway you look at it. Legislation or the effect of a national law is national business. It’s up to the congress to do something,” said Rich Lopez, an advocate for Latinos in the Wiregrass.
Lopez feels the Arizona law is unjust. He says as a society, we can come up with a better solution.
“Just take a moment to realize the capacity our people have, all of our people, I’m not talking about Latinos, working together, what a wonderful world this would be, I mean just being good to each other,”
Even though Miller says his business is struggling because of illegal immigration, he doesn't feel deportation is the way to go.
“They’re here, they love the United States, they're not going anywhere, and I don't think its right to just go out and round them up and send all back home, that's not the answer. I think the answer is if you catch somebody in this country illegally, you need to get them on paper,” commented Miller.
Whatever your stance is on the issue, it's sure to be a heated topic in the upcoming election.
“If the candidate does not have a simple, humane, fair, decent, but fair policy to end this illegality then they should not be elected,” said U.S. senator from Alabama Jeff Sessions.
News 4 spoke with illegal immigrant who did not want to be on camera but says he's been living in the Wiregrass for the past 10 years.
He says deportation is not the answer because most immigrants would simply cross over illegally once again.
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