In June of 2011, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed into law restrictions against illegal immigration, considered by many political analysts as the toughest in the nation. Governor Bentley labeled the law as the “strongest immigration bill in the country.” However, as seen in most instances, church groups in Alabama are coming out publicly against the law and pushing for open-border measures. The President of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, Mark Tooley, described the church’s belief as, “Any border enforcement is commonly derided as ‘militarization.’ And illegal immigrants are routinely likened to the Holy Family fleeing to Egypt, or Abraham searching for the Promised Land.”
Birmingham-based Bishop Will Willimon told the local newspaper, citing "frustration," "disappointment [and] embarrassment." He complained: "One of the most nefarious aspects of this law is it appears to criminalize Alabamians in the act of being helpful and compassionate," citing the law's prohibition against knowingly giving a ride to illegal immigrants. "One thing our church is hoping to show our Spanish-speaking friends is that this law is not in our spirit," the Bishop said. "We want the world to know that this does not represent the best of Alabama."
Members of the Presbyterian Church in Alabama have also spoken out against the law, mirroring the pro-amnesty, open-border stances of the National Council of Churches, the National Association of Evangelicals, the Episcopal Church bishops, and United Methodist agencies.
All of this support for the state's estimated 120,000 illegal aliens comes amidst a unemployment rate of 9.9 percent in Alabama.
To read Mark Tooley's full article click here