HB 65 law impacts international students on campus

HB 65 law impacts international students on campus
Philemon Kirlles a seniro in Ethnomusicology from Egypt, feels 'the new immigration law is good for this country and state as its hleps to spend money on right people'. /CW|Harish Rao

In light of Alabama’s new immigration law, Capstone International recently sent out an announcement with its email newsletter to international students reminding them of the importance of carrying their passports and other documentation related to their immigration statuses, especially because of the sections of the law which allow law enforcement officers to stop individuals if “a reasonable suspicion” exists that the person is in the country illegally.

International students have had notably mixed reactions.

"I don't think it is a good law, because there may be greater limitations for international students,” said Lingxuan Liu, a student from China in the English Language Institute.

At yesterday’s Exotic Food Exchange in B.B. Comer Hall, Philemon Kirlles, an international student and senior in New College, said, “What they’re doing with immigration laws is important. They aren’t wrong. If I were in my Egypt, my country, I would want the same thing. When you have 3.5 million homeless in the streets, like you do here, you need the jobs.”

Ana Skelton, a Spanish teacher who is originally from Brazil, is strongly against the law.

"Just like in any bad situation, people show their good sides, and a lot of people are coming out to defend those that cannot defend themselves," Skelton said.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says the new law is in the best interest of the state. “As I have said on many occasions, if the federal government had done its job by enforcing its own immigration laws, we wouldn't be here today,” Bentley said in a press release. “Unfortunately, by failing to do its job, the federal government has left the problem of dealing with illegal immigration to the states. Alabama needed a tough law against illegal immigration. We now have one. I will continue to fight to see this law upheld."

Skelton disagrees with Bentley, saying, "Unfortunately, this law is being driven by fear, hatred and prejudice and is propagating the negative racial image that Alabama already has.”

The law, previously known as House Bill 56, was upheld by Judge Sharon Blackburn on Sept. 28 but may still reach the U.S. Supreme Court on appeal.

Ultimately, many international students are concerned about potential dangers for legal immigrants should they be stopped without immigration documentation.

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