The Alabama House of Representatives voted Tuesday to pass an immigration bill modeled after Arizona’s, that would give law enforcement officials the authority to demand papers from people in cases “where reasonable suspicion exists that a person is an unauthorized alien,” and jail those suspected of being in the country illegally until their immigration status can be confirmed.
The bill, which passed the House by a vote of 73-28, makes it a crime to be an illegal immigrant in the state of Alabama, and could lead to trespassing charges for those found to be in the state unlawfully. In Alabama, trespassing carries a sentence of up to a year.
Kim Chandler of The Birmingham News reports that the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Micky Hammon (R) said during debate that it “attacks every aspect of an illegal alien’s life” and “is designed to make it difficult for them to live here so they will deport themselves.”
The bill will now go up for a vote in the state Senate.
Arizona was the first state to sign into law an immigration bill of this kind. Its statute required “a reasonable attempt to be made to determine the immigration status of a person” who law enforcement comes into contact with, “if reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the U.S.”
The law sparked much outrage last year, due to fears that it would encourage racial profiling in the state. President Obama condemned it as well, saying that it “threaten[s] to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans.”