Taylor: Immigration bill could be answer to unemployment

Published 5:29 pm Friday, August 26, 2011

Sen. Bryan Taylor is well aware of Butler County’s high unemployment rate, which is currently hovering around 13 percent.

That’s one reason Taylor, who spoke at the Wendell Mitchell Conference Center in Greenville on Thursday morning, voted in support of Alabama’s new immigration law.

“Unemployment is high,” Taylor said. “The immigration bill is an effort to try and refocus and achieve balance in the job market. Hopefully this bill will cause some employers to employ Alabamians who are out looking for work.”

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But that’s only if the new law is enacted.

U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn is holding a hearing on lawsuits by the Obama administration and others to block the law. She will also hear arguments from attorneys for the state asking her to let the law take effect on Sept. 1.

The lawsuit brings into question the constitutionality of the legislation as opponents allege that the bill “unlawfully interferes with federal power and authority over immigration matters, in violation of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution; subjects Alabamians — including countless U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents — to unlawful search and seizure, in violation of the Fourth Amendment; unlawfully deters immigrant families from enrolling their children in public schools; unconstitutionally bars many lawfully present immigrants from attending public colleges or universities in Alabama; and drastically restricts the right to enter into contracts.”

Taylor believes the new law simply fixes a “broken immigration system at the federal level.”

“It’s not perfect, but no bill is,” he said. “I’m sure that when we go back into session we will revisit the bill and tighten some things up, but I think this is a good start.”

For Taylor, the question of whether illegal immigrants are “taking jobs away from Americans, specifically Alabamians,” remains to be seen.

“I think we’ll see, as this law goes into effect, whether it helps encourage employers to hire legal workers instead of illegal workers. I think it will. It finally puts real penalties in place and we’ll just have to wait and see if it ultimately helps bring the unemployment rate down,” Taylor said. “In an economy like this, we need to be doing everything we can to make sure that available jobs are going to Americans and legal residents — people who want to come here legally.”