Justice Department official Thomas Perez will travel to Alabama this week to call attention to the impact that Alabama’s strict immigration law will have on schoolchildren in the state.
Perez, the assistant attorney general in charge of the Civil Rights Division, will join U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama Joyce Vance in meeting with “community leaders, civil rights organizations and families” in Birmingham, according to DOJ.
DOJ is appealing a federal judge’s ruling that Alabama can enforce the law, arguing that it “is highly likely to expose persons lawfully in the United States, including school children, to new difficulties in routine dealings.” They’ve also set up a new hotline to take complaints about potential civil rights concerns about the bill.
The New York Times reported that Hispanic immigrants began “vanishing” after the bill went into effect:
They left behind mobile homes, sold fully furnished for a thousand dollars or even less. Or they just closed up and, in a gesture of optimism, left the keys with a neighbor. Dogs were fed one last time; if no home could be found, they were simply unleashed.
Two, 5, 10 years of living here, and then gone in a matter of days, to Tennessee, Illinois, Oregon, Florida, Arkansas, Mexico — who knows? Anywhere but Alabama.