As might be expected, liberals are whipping out the Bull Connor card about HB 56 — the recent Alabama law to curb its illegal immigration problems.
“This draconian initiative signed into law … by Gov. Robert Bentley is so oppressive that even Bull Connor himself would be impressed,” said Wade Henderson, the head of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, in the Los Angeles Times. He blasted the law as “designed to do nothing more than terrorize the state’s Latino community.”
To show how far out in left field Henderson is, here is what Eugene “Bull” Connor, the public safety commissioner of Birmingham, Ala., in the early 1960s, is known to have done.
In 1961, Connor let his cops cut a deal with members of the Ku Klux Klan. When a group of civil rights activists known as “Freedom Riders” took a bus to Birmingham, Connor gave the Kluxers 15 minutes to assault and brutalize them before his officers intervened.
In 1963, Connor had his police officers turn police dogs loose on civil rights demonstrators, many of them children. He had his firemen turn high-pressure water hoses on the same demonstrators.
There is nothing in HB 56 that subjects Alabama’s Latino population to that kind of violence and terror. No police dogs will be turned loose on the state’s Latinos; no fire hoses will be turned on them; no one will be given free passes to beat them senseless.
Much closer to reality than Henderson is the National Immigration Forum’s Ali Noorani, who has a problem with an HB 56 provision that requires school districts to report any students suspected of being illegal immigrants.
“At the end of the day,” Noorani said in the Los Angeles Times story, “for a teacher to be required to act as an immigration agent and ask a student for their immigration status will have a chilling effect on immigrant families.”
That is precisely the point. A “chilling effect” is exactly what’s been missing regarding illegal immigration. We have 11 million or 12 million illegal immigrants in this country because they believe there are no consequences for breaking our immigration laws.
A “chilling effect” is sorely needed. And, like Arizona, the state of Alabama did the right thing by providing one.
Examiner columnist Gregory Kane is a Pulitzer-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to Sudan.