After Ruling, Hispanics Flee an Alabama Town

FarmerJohn

Has No Life - Lives on TB
By CAMPBELL ROBERTSON
October 3, 2011

ALBERTVILLE, Ala. — The vanishing began Wednesday night, the most frightened families packing up their cars as soon as they heard the news.

They left behind mobile homes, sold fully furnished for a thousand dollars or even less. Or they just closed up and, in a gesture of optimism, left the keys with a neighbor. Dogs were fed one last time; if no home could be found, they were simply unleashed.

Two, 5, 10 years of living here, and then gone in a matter of days, to Tennessee, Illinois, Oregon, Florida, Arkansas, Mexico — who knows? Anywhere but Alabama.

The exodus of Hispanic immigrants began just hours after a federal judge in Birmingham upheld most provisions of the state’s far-reaching immigration enforcement law.

The judge, Sharon Lovelace Blackburn, upheld the parts of the law allowing state and local police to ask for immigration papers during routine traffic stops, rendering most contracts with illegal immigrants unenforceable and requiring schools to ascertain the immigration status of children at registration time.

When Judge Blackburn was finished, Alabama was left with what the governor called “the strongest immigration law in this country.” It went into effect immediately, though her ruling is being appealed by the Justice Department and a coalition of civil rights groups.

In the days since, school superintendents have reassured parents — one even did so on television in Spanish — that nothing had changed for children who were already enrolled. Wary police departments around the state said they were, for now, awaiting instructions on how to carry out the law.

For many immigrants, however, waiting seemed just too dangerous. By Monday afternoon, 123 students had withdrawn from the schools in this small town in the northern hills, leaving behind teary and confused classmates. Scores more were absent. Statewide, 1,988 Hispanic students were absent on Friday, about 5 percent of the entire Hispanic population of the school system.

John Weathers, an Albertville businessman who rents and has sold houses to many Hispanic residents, said his occupancy had suddenly dropped by a quarter and might drop further, depending on what happens in the next week. Two people who had paid off their mortgages called him asking if they could sell back their homes, Mr. Weathers said.

Grocery stores and restaurants were noticeably less busy, which in some cases may be just as well, because some employees stopped showing up. In certain neighborhoods the streets are uncommonly quiet, like the aftermath of some sort of rapture.

Drawn by work in the numerous poultry processing plants, Hispanic immigrants have been coming to Albertville for years, long enough ago that some of the older ones gained amnesty under the immigration law of 1986. But the influx picked up over the last decade, and the signs on Main Street are now mostly bilingual, when they include English at all.

What the new immigration law means on a large scale will become clearest in a place like Albertville, whether it will deliver jobs to citizens and protect taxpayers as promised or whether it will spell economic disaster as opponents fear.

Critics of the law, particularly farmers, contractors and home builders, say the measure has already been devastating, leaving rotting crops in fields and critical shortages of labor. They say that even fully documented Hispanic workers are leaving, an assessment that seems to be borne out in interviews here. The legal status of family members is often mixed — children are often American-born citizens — but the decision whether to stay rests on the weakest link.

Backers of the law acknowledge that it might be disruptive in the short term, but say it will prove effective over time.

“It’s going to take some time for the local labor pool to develop again,” said State Senator Arthur Orr, Republican of Decatur, “but outside labor shouldn’t come in and just beat them every time on cost and put them out of business.”

Mr. Orr said there were already signs that the law was working, pointing out that the work-release center in Decatur, about 50 miles to the northwest, was not so long ago unable to find jobs for inmates with poultry processors or home manufacturers. Since the law was enacted in June, he said, the center has been placing more and more inmates in these jobs, now more than 150 a day.

On Monday morning, one of the poultry processing plants in Albertville had a job fair, attracting an enormous crowd, a mix of Hispanic, black and white job-seekers, lining up outside the plant and down the street.

“This needed to be done years ago,” Shannon Lolling, 36, who has been unemployed for over a year, said of the law.

Mr. Lolling’s problem seemed to be with the system that had brought the illegal-immigrant workers here, not with the workers themselves.

“That’s why our jobs went south to Mexico,” he said. “They pay them less wages and pocket the money, keep us from having jobs.”

Not far from the plant, in the Hispanic neighborhoods, it is hard to differentiate the silence of the workday, the silence of abandonment or the silence of paralyzing fear.

Many Hispanics have chosen to stay for now, saying, with little apparent conviction, that the law will surely be blocked by the president, the judge, “the government.” Until then, they are not leaving their homes unless absolutely necessary. They send others to buy their groceries and tell their children to quit the soccer team and to come home right after school. Rumors of raids and roadblocks are rampant, and though the new law has nothing to say about such things, distrust is primed by anecdotes, like one told by a local Hispanic pastor who said he was pulled over outside Birmingham on Wednesday, within hours of the ruling. His friend who was driving — and who is in the United States illegally — is now in jail on an unrelated misdemeanor charge, the pastor said, adding that while he was let go, a policeman told him he was no longer welcome in Alabama.

“I am afraid to drive to church.,” a 54-year-old poultry plant worker named Candelaria said, adding, “The lady that gives me a ride to work said she is leaving. She said she felt like a prisoner.”

All summer long, Allen Stoner, a lawyer in Decatur, has been helping his Hispanic clients fill out forms appointing friends or family members as guardians of their children, who are in many cases American-born citizens. This way, the children would not be transferred to social services if the parents were arrested and deported.

Much of this was done by the time the judge’s ruling came down, though last week Mr. Stoner’s clients began to contact him immediately to ask what they should be doing. Monday was quiet.

“We had a lot of phone calls Thursday and Friday,” Mr. Stoner said, “but it has plummeted.”

He did not know for sure, but he figured his clients were gone.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/04/us/after-ruling-hispanics-flee-an-alabama-town.html?_r=1&hp=&pagewanted=all
 

John Wall

Contributing Member
Are we supposed to feel sorry for these law breakers? What would happen to me if I illegally entered Mexico, managed to become a non paying parasite of their system, then were caught?

Oops, that can't happen. Mexico would not allow me to sneak in and act as though I belonged there. They would put my butt in jail, then deport me pronto.

Good for Alabama. The other states need to adopt this law.
 

Hfcomms

EN66iq
Outstanding!! Kudo's to this judge and I wish we had a lot more like them. This has nothing to do with being anti-hispanic or any of the racist clap trap the liberals come up with. This has everything to do with rule of law. If you want to come live in this country there is a way to go about doing it. Very lax immigration laws are a slap in the face to those immigrants who followed the rules, did it right and became citizens. If you are unwilling to shoulder the responsibility of becoming a citizen then you shouldn't get any of the benefits either. In this current job market we have citizens today who would be glad to do some of the work that the immigrants have been doing.
 

etc

Veteran Member
who is going to clean the toilets?
the locals? I don't think so. the very reason Mexicans were brought in was because the natives refused to clean the toilets, pick berries and haul sheet to the dump.
if you think now poultry plants will pay 18 bucks per hour instead of min wage, all I have to say is *hysterical laugh*

basically the owners will get fed up with politics and move the whole operation to Mexico.
 

Lilbitsnana

On TB every waking moment
who is going to clean the toilets?
the locals? I don't think so. the very reason Mexicans were brought in was because the natives refused to clean the toilets, pick berries and haul sheet to the dump.
if you think now poultry plants will pay 18 bucks per hour instead of min wage, all I have to say is *hysterical laugh*

basically the owners will get fed up with politics and move the whole operation to Mexico.
You're an azz who doesn't know what he's talking about.

Only one of the 5 chicken plants in the area I lives pays anywhere close to minimum. Most of them start around $10 an hour.

And there are whites who work in the plants both in the past and in the present. In the future too if the plants will hire them.
 

jed turtle

a brother in the Lord
who is going to clean the toilets?
the locals? I don't think so. the very reason Mexicans were brought in was because the natives refused to clean the toilets, pick berries and haul sheet to the dump.
if you think now poultry plants will pay 18 bucks per hour instead of min wage, all I have to say is *hysterical laugh*

basically the owners will get fed up with politics and move the whole operation to Mexico.
don't fret or wet your panties.
once the welfare state collapses, all those parasites now collecting will quickly be hungry enough to apply for any job they can find. and with the mexicans gone, there will be some jobs finally available.
 

willowlady

Veteran Member
I don't think so. the very reason Mexicans were brought in was because the natives refused to clean the toilets, pick berries and haul sheet to the dump.
Oh, for God's sake.... use your head, please. Absolutely there will be some things that don't get done so nicely at first. But in a country where a huge number of its citizens are out of work and out of options, menial positions will be filled soon enough. We've got PhD's working at McDonalds and Masters of Whatever making sandwiches... If cleaning toilet are the only jobs around, even us lazy ass, over educated American are going to fill them, sooner or later.
 

Jeff B.

Don’t let the Piss Ants get you down…
What the new immigration law means on a large scale will become clearest in a place like Albertville, whether it will deliver jobs to citizens and protect taxpayers as promised or whether it will spell economic disaster as opponents fear.

Critics of the law, particularly farmers, contractors and home builders, say the measure has already been devastating, leaving rotting crops in fields and critical shortages of labor. They say that even fully documented Hispanic workers are leaving, an assessment that seems to be borne out in interviews here. The legal status of family members is often mixed — children are often American-born citizens — but the decision whether to stay rests on the weakest link.
There's no doubt that for some, this will "spell economic disaster". The ones who have been making a nice living renting crapholes to these people. On a broader basis, as the drain on social services declines, not so much.

As far as the "mixed" legal status, that should be addressed PQD. The MIS-interpretation of the 14th Amendment should have been corrected decades ago. I guess it'll be up to the states to declare their own citizenship status and apply that since the Fed.Gov won't. Make no mistake, we're headed that way as the illegal immigrants wait for Obama and "the government" to save them and the legal residents of a state wait for the gubmint to again step in on the side of NON-CITIZENS.

FYI, if someone wants to immigrate to the United States, that's fine. We should welcome the type (skill) and number of immigrants that WE decide that we need. If you're in that class, great. If not, get a skill and get in line. We cannot have a come one, come all free for all as we have have for the last 30 years. Remember the "amnesty" under Reagan? The "last one"? Sure. Right. More bullcrap fed to the mushrooms. What's so infuriating is that it's not that the Fed.Gov can't do anything about the illegal immigrant issue, it's that they won't and then they make us pay for them.

Just another injustice in a long line of injustices that will need to be corrected when the trash is swept out.

Jeff B.
 
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