In a widely noticed human rights speech this month in Geneva, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton articulated U.S. policy on the fundamental rights of all people living in the world.
She said, "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights ... rights are not conferred by government; they are the birthright of all people. It does not matter what country we live in, who our leaders are, or even who we are. Because we are human, we therefore have rights. And because we have rights, governments are bound to protect them."
These basic rights extend to immigrants living in Alabama.
This April, Alabama legislators voted to make it a felony punishable by 1 to 10 years in prison for any undocumented immigrant living in the state to enter into a "business transaction." That means signing a lease for an apartment or paying a utility bill.
By June, Governor Robert Bentley had signed H.B. 56 into law.
Imprisoning those who seek shelter and basic sustenance runs counter to the universal rights of all free people. It's beneath the dignity of this great nation.