Critics Say Alabama’s Trump-Style Immigration Crackdown Failed


Alabama, which hosted the largest rally of Donald Trump's presidential campaign Friday night, tested a Trump-style crackdown on undocumented workers, and it did not go well, says the Washington Post. In 2011, a new Republican legislature and governor enacted the Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act. Renting a house or giving a job to an “illegal” became a crime. Police were empowered to demand proof of citizenship from anyone who looked as if he or she might lack it. School administrators were instructed to do the same to children. The backlash was massive — a legal assault that chipped away at the law, and a political campaign that made Republicans own its consequences. Business groups blamed the tough measures for scaring away capital and for an exodus of workers that hurt the state's agriculture industry. After Mitt Romney lost the 2012 presidential election, strategists in his own party blamed his support for the Alabama attrition policy. Those critics included Donald Trump.

Asked about the law, Alabama voters rarely say that it worked. Large farms spent millions training new workers. The agriculture sector suffered after some immigrants fled the state. “Most of them left and didn't come back,” said Terry Darring-Rogers, who works at a Mobile law firm specializing in immigration. The debate seemed to be over — nice try, lesson learned — until Trump began running as a standard-bearer for tough immigration reform that includes mass deportation. Trump has also kick-started a debate about “birthright citizenship,” which is granted to any child born in the United States under the 14th Amendment.

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