Alabama Senate Considers Tweaks to Immigration Law

The Alabama Senate may take up a measure to tweak the state's toughest-in-the-nation immigration law.

With the legislative session drawing to a close, the House passed the changes on April 19. They include clarifying that the law won't prevent religious groups from providing charity to undocumented immigrants. They also stop schools from asking for the immigration status of students before they enroll.

Sen. Scott Beason of Gardendale says he hopes to introduce a substitute bill making fewer changes than the House version.

Part of the bill remain unenforceable due to lawsuits by the Obama administration and others, prompting Gov. Robert Bentley and other GOP leaders to support the proposed tweaking the law.

Groups calling for the law's outright repeal plan multiple protests at the Statehouse throughout the day. They will culminate in a vigil at 7 p.m.

Passed last year, the Alabama immigration bill has drawn criticism from the business community. Facing the possibility of labor shortages, some farmers are planting less this year rather than watch crops rot without getting picked.

"There's too much uncertainty," said Keith Dickie, who farms with his brother on a ridge called Straight Mountain, about 40 miles northeast of Birmingham.

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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