New twist in immigration controversy

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - One provision of the new immigration law allows police to check immigration status during a traffic stop, something Olivia Turner finds thoroughly 'unconstitutional' and wrong.

"This law will invite rampant discrimination," said Turner.

One of the champions of Alabama's new immigration law disagrees.

The Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives Mike Hubbard said in this statement released to WSFA 12 News today:

"Make no mistake, this lawsuit will not undo Alabama's immigration law. If the court finds problems with parts of the law, tweaks can be made. But Alabama is not going to be a sanctuary state for illegal immigrants. Alabama will have a strict immigration law and we will enforce it."

The Speaker was just as adamant a few days ago while addressing a local civic club.

"The operative word here is 'illegal' and somehow that's gotten lost," Hubbard said.

Either way, this issue is now in federal court.

Three plaintiffs including the ACLU filed a motion asking the Northern District Court of Alabama to simply block the law from taking effect in September. The plaintiffs want the judge to stop it now while deciding the constitutionality of the immigration law as challenged in the original suit.

"You're either legal or illegal. We want people to come to this country. We encourage people to come to this country but you have to go through the process like everybody else," said Hubbard.

Another troubling part of the law from Turner's point of view; the section that criminalizes a person if he helps an illegal even one whose car is broken down on the side of the road.

"This will make them second class citizens and make them live in the shadows,' said Turner.

Supporters of the law say that is not accurate because if such a case went to court, the prosecution would have to prove 'intent,' the individual's intent of knowingly harboring an illegal.

There's no word when the court will make a ruling.

"Unfortunately, there's been a lot of scare tactics," said Hubbard.

Governor Robert Bentley, meantime, wouldn't say today whether he favors any tweaking of the new law. Mr. Bentley simply responded 'I favor a strong immigration law,' and blamed the federal government for not doing its job.

A long standing debate that's just beginning.

Copyright 2011 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.