Birmingham suburb passes immigration law

Posted by Cody Holyoke - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A Birmingham suburb is cracking down on illegal immigration, passing a measure closely resembling a controversial law in Arizona.

By a vote of 4 to 2, the Irondale City Council gave police the power to check immigration status.

Taking a page or two from Arizona, Irondale City Councilman Craig Sanderson drafted a measure directing police officers to check the immigration status of the people they pull over or encounter during investigations.

"People who are not entitled to certain government benefits could be a drain on resources if they become a large group of the population," Sanderson said.

José Perez works as an interpreter for law enforcement agencies across the river region.  He says the law raises too many concerns.

"It doesn't mean that everybody here is illegal. For example, if I get stopped, and I don't have my proper documents, and I'm a citizen of this country, what's going to happen with that issue?" asked Perez.

With the ongoing pressure to change Arizona's law, Perez says governments should wait to see what happens.

"Every country around the world has their own immigration issues. So when it comes to immigration issues, I think there should be respect for the federal law," he explained.

Meanwhile, leaders across the state keep an eye on Irondale.  Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange says the city has dealt with the illegal population before.  With a lack of work, he says, problems have died down.

"When we were blowing and going three years ago, there was some conversation. Today, I don't hear that, because they're going elsewhere where there are jobs," Strange said.

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