Alabama has moved to deny undocumented children a chance to participate in our state's civic religion, i.e. football, but some things are still more sacred than our state's responsibility to shun brown people. Like, say, the legislature's duty to save their souls before we deport them. See how that works?
Remember Alabama's State Senator Scott Beason, who wants to "empty the clip on illegal immigration"? Watch as he struggles to argue against modifying a provision that would put church deacons in prison for giving the undocumented a ride to church. Really! Much more after the jump...
Going by the Orwellian title "Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act," SB 256 is marginally worse than the bill crafted by House Majority Leader Mickey Hammon. But rather than fight as House Democrats have, Senate Dems have chosen to improve legislation, not oppose it outright. In the process, the cognitive dissonance behind omnibus immigration legislation has been laid bare. The Senate minority has fought on moral high ground and rhetoric -- exactly what you are supposed to see in an "upper chamber," or so I'm told. But I'd prefer wholesale resistance to piecemeal.
My favorite part of the video above is when Scott Beason presents Roger Bedford with a hypothetical situation in which an Alabama judge is asked to dismiss charges against a terrorist caught riding shotgun in a mosque van. The internal narrative is clear: we must fear the world! Immigrants are bad, evil, unsafe, and must be cleansed from the Heart of Dixie. "Empty the clip," indeed. Except it's lunacy, because a terrorist will already be in federal custody by then.
SB 256 is one of those bills where law enforcement agencies agree a law should exist, but ask that someone else be put in charge of enforcing it. Oddly enough, the bill's extension of police powers to Alabama's diminutive Department of Homeland Security (ALDHS) occasioned one of the more interesting moments in the debate. The incident presented below was listed in a press release I received from the Senate Democratic Caucus recently calling Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey "the most partisan Lieutenant Governor in history" with a "blatant disregard for rules and fairness." Complaining that she tells minority members what to say, refuses to acknowledge them waiting for recognition, and has their microphones turned down, the PR went on to describe Tuesday's debate of a Constitutional Amendment to strip racist language about poll taxes and segregation:
Last night she had the public audio system shut down completely for several minutes to silence the Minority's objections. She ignored the rules that allow the Minority to have a roll call vote, and she instructed the audio feed to be silenced as Senators called on her to enforce the rule.
Rachel Maddow has lately struck on the theme of Big Government Republicans in Wisconsin, Michigan, and elsewhere. They have arrived in Alabama too, and the first to say so is a Republican. When Senator Paul Sanford (R-Madison) submitted an amendment to strip the expansion of ALDHS powers, it survived Beason's tabling motion and was passed by roll-call vote. Majority leadership scrambled to get members back from a committee meeting and reconsider the amendment.
Then Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey became combative with Sanford when he awaited recognition before a cloture vote. Remember: this is all about a bill crafted to make undocumented kids leave school and find some trouble to get into. The first GOP majority in Alabama's state house since 1875 wants to create government jobs making sure those darn illegal alien kids don't tear up the turf under Friday night lights instead. Maybe that's what Scott Beason means when he calls SB 256 a "jobs bill," eh? Call them "pigskin police."