Self-deportation a sci-fi “easy button” for immigration

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Monica Mendoza holds her son, Esteban Mateo Mendoza Flores march to the White House to call for immigration reform and an end to workplace raids May 1, 2009 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Shuttershock)

The answer to our nation’s immigration problems can be fixed with self-deportation — false.

In response to an immigration policy question GOP front-runner Mitt Romney said to Adam Smith of The Tampa Bay Times during a debate in Florida:

“The answer is self-deportation, which is people decide they can do better by going home because they can’t find work here because they don’t have legal documentation to allow them to work here,” Romney said. “We’re not going to round them up.”

The concept of self-deportation is nothing new. Alabama enacted a law in October 2011 that was meant to make life for undocumented immigrants so bad that they would leave or self-deport.

The consequence of the law, HB56, is that thousands of children are not attending school and employees are not showing up to work. Undocumented immigrants are living in fear and have subjected themselves to the confines of their home.

But that was the point, according to Rep. Mickey Hammon of Decatur, Ala., who said the law “attacks every aspect of an illegal alien’s life.”

“This bill is designed to make it difficult for them to live here so they will deport themselves,” said Hammon, during his speech to state representatives.

Nothing about this law seems fair, right or humane.

Yes, they are undocumented immigrants, but there has to be a better way to handle their   immigration. Laws that act to support self-deportation undermine basic human rights, devastate local economies and put unnecessary burdens on both citizens, reports Immigration Policy Center.

Richard Cohen, of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization involved in the court fight repeal the law, said they have received more than 5,100 calls to a hotline set up to take calls about problems with the law, reports the Montgomery Adviser.

“Among the most recent complaints are allegations that children who are U.S. citizens are being denied food stamp benefits because their parents are illegal immigrants,” Cohen said.

Even Republican conservative Newt Gingrich ridiculed the idea of self-deportation stating that it would be inhumane to long-established families living in America, reports the Associated Press.

With Romney in the lead with 50 percent of the delegates for the Republican nomination and boasting to fix the country’s immigration quandary with a plan that sounds more like a sci-fi  “easy button,” advocates have rallied together to gain the support of automakers to help them repeal the law.

Why the automotive industry?

Alabama’s auto industry is responsible for more than 48,000 jobs and has the capacity to produce more than 750,000 vehicles a year, reports the Montgomery Adviser.

But advocates are not getting much of a response from automakers like Mercedes, Honda and others.

Is Alabama’s self-deportation a case study for what can go wrong with immigration policy or  is it the start of a trend?

Read it at Montgomery Adviser

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