MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) --Jose Perez has been a legal immigrant for years but fears the new law will overreach, he's not comfortable with the part that allows police to check immigration status during a traffic stop.
"I'm afraid I'll get pulled over and have to show them my immigration papers, so will I have to carry those as well?" said Perez.
The Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives makes no apologies for supporting the new law. Mike Hubbard insists proponents of the new law aren't out to 'get' illegals. It's just the federal government, Hubbard says, isn't doing a very good job of keeping illegals out, and it's all comes down to fairness.
"I have friends who immigrated from Holland. They did it the right way. The operative word here is 'illegal,' and somehow that's gotten lost in the message. We have no problems with people coming to this country. We encourage that but they must become legal because it's not fair to those who are legal and are paying in the system," said Mr. Hubbard.
One estimate has around 200,000 'illegals' in Alabama and come September.. the law will give police the authority to check immigration papers during traffic stops say for speeding or running a red light.
For many immigrants that's where the concern lies; former Montgomery policeman Phillip Moultrie is serving a 40-year sentence for stealing more than $2,000 from Hispanic men during traffic stops.
That's a fact not lost on Colonel Chris Murphy, Montgomery's Public Safety Director. Murphy says the police department is studying the new law and will apply it evenly.
"We want to be consistent and fair in these matters," said Colonel Murphy.
Jose Perez feels the new immigration law is mean. The speaker does not and the police plan on enforcing it.
Mean or not it's coming.. September first.
Copyright 2011 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.
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