B'ham mayor compares Ala. law to apartheid

Birmingham Mayor William Bell has told Democratic members of Congress holding a hearing on Alabama's new immigration law that the legislation smacks of apartheid and Jim Crow laws.

The Birmingham News reports (http://bit.ly/uVpwx7 ) Bell told the lawmakers at an ad hoc hearing on Monday that the law passed this year by Alabama's Republican-controlled legislature places financial burdens on cities and could force police officers to employ racial profiling.

Among those attending the hearing is Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., who plans to speak at the launch Monday night of a campaign to repeal the law.

Republican leaders said Monday the federal government should be sending Alabama thank you notes for addressing the problem of illegal immigration.

The law requires police to detain people who can't prove they are in the country legally.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)