HR Peeps, Learn from Alabama’s New Immigration Law: Mean Policies Suck

Dawn Burke Dawn Hrdlica, Diversity, Policies

I’ve been in Alabama for 10 years, and as you all know have been an advocate for the state. Despite the image issues that Alabama will continue to fight (deservedly) due to the civil unrest in the 60’s, modern Birmingham has really been a most excellent place to live.

But damn it Alabama, sometimes you make it just too hard to defend.  On June 9th, following Arizona’s lead, Alabama passed its own version of an immigration law – one the federal government decided was too
oppressive and harassing to implement, therefore they filed a lawsuit against the state of Alabama to block the measure.

Here is what Alabama’s new immigration law will enforce starting September 1st:

  1. Law enforcement will be required “to attempt to determine the immigration status of a person who they suspect is an unauthorized alien”.  Wow, can you say discriminatory profiling?
  2. It will be illegal for anyone to provide transportation to an illegal immigrant. Guess I’ll have to do a background check on anyone who gets in my car? And I hope, if you happen to be an illegal immigrant, you don’t get hurt.  Don’t know if I can give you a ride to the hospital.
  3. Naturally it is illegal to provide housing or rent to an illegal immigrant.
  4. There are no exceptions for churches that may be providing shelter, food, or rides.
  5. All businesses over 25 employees must use e-verify.  If they do not, then with three violations your business will be permanently closed.
  6. If e-verify cannot confirm the status of the applicant and within 8 days the employee contests the findings, you cannot take adverse action on that employee until e-verify can confirm.  This could take months.

People who know me know I am pretty “a-political”.  I really don’t get into it.  I am an A-1, fence- straddler.  I don’t know what to do about illegal immigration and don’t consider myself an expert on the subject or the solve.

BUT…
Isn’t there a higher humanistic code that this violates?  Isn’t this a lot of hoop jumping with little chance of a good ROI?  Isn’t this presuming a lot of guilt before there is any proof of wrongdoing? Lastly, doesn’t this awfully punitive law hold average, everyday people to account for something they are not uniquely qualified to judge?

The biggest issue is that this law will not solve the problem It will not transform the state nor will it engage Alabamians to work or live together.  Such a shame since we’ve come so far since the 60’s.

HR Takeaways:

  • From an HR standpoint, doesn’t this law remind you of the fear-based HR policies and practices of the past?  Ones that made HR pros afraid to talk to a rich and diverse candidate pool for fear of “discrimination”.
  • Policies written for the “exception” and not the rule do not make sense.  They do not work, nor do they transform and engage your organization.
  • Policies written from a state of control do not make sense.  They do not work, nor do they transform your organization.
  • Policies written from a state of fear rather than understanding obliterate trust and transparency.  They do not work nor do the transform and engage your organization.
  • Policies based in punishments rather than educating or informing do not make sense.  They do not work nor do they transform and engage your organizations.

HR peeps, perhaps the one good thing about this is you can learn from our foolishness.