Wallace signs onto brief in favor of illegal immigration law

Published 3:27 pm Thursday, August 18, 2011

Rep. Kurt Wallace is one of a group of lawmakers who isn’t ready just yet to concede to the federal government on the issue of illegal immigration.

Wallace joined 13 other state legislators in signing a federal court brief filed Monday in U.S. District Court.

The brief was a response to the U.S. Department of Justice suing to block enforcement of an illegal immigration policy signed into effect by Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley on June 9. The policy, which was scheduled to go into effect Sept. 1, would be among the nation’s most stringent, and the bill was immediately opposed by groups including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Montgomery-based Southern Poverty Law Center.

Even municipal police departments expressed concern because under the bill anyone found to be in the United States illegally would be jailed, even if after being pulled over for a simple traffic violation.

But Wallace said he thinks his constituents are in favor of the bill “10-to-1.”

“As I travel around, almost all I hear is people telling me we’re doing the right thing, that this is what we need to do,” Wallace said.

Wallace (R-Maplesville) and state Sen. Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) voted in favor of the bill.

The issue the courts will decide is whether immigration is solely a federal issue or one that states can also legislate.

“We’re just doing what the federal government is supposed to do,” Wallace said. “Like everything, the federal government passed a law to deal with it, but they don’t enforce it. The states take over when the federal government doesn’t do its job.”