We Shall Overcome! Congressional Delegation to Visit Birmingham AL Today for Hearing on Impact of Immigration Law

By Mary Ellen Lacy
November 21, 2011

A delegation from the House of Representatives is in Birmingham, Alabama today. Their visit will include an ad hoc field hearing to examine the impact of Alabama’s harsh new “papers please” immigration law, HB56. The day is expected to culminate in an event at Birmingham’s historic 16th Street Baptist Church where a statewide campaign to repeal the law is being launched.

Ironically or intentionally chosen, the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama was bombed on Sunday, September 15, 1963. The explosion at the African-American church, which killed four girls, marked a turning point in the U.S. 1960s civil rights movement and contributed to support for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

All people in the vicinity need to show support for the repeal of the HB56 law, an ugly wound of bigotry and oppression in the South. Today, Alabamians are speaking out against hate and shame. All U.S. citizens need to call for repeal of this law. If allowed to stand, it can have a cascade-effect by providing a basis for future anti-immigration laws in the South. All Americans need to call your elected officials, write letters to your local newspapers and pray to our loving God, beseeching the repeal of this law. Congress needs to stimulate the economy, build revenue, share burden among the capable and facilitate a positive response to a dwindling American economy. Oppressing the vulnerable is not an appropriate response to losses that they have not caused.


Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (IL – D) is leading the delegation, which is expected to include:

  • Rep. Joe Baca of California; Secretary of the Congressional Black Caucus
  • Yvette D. Clarke of New York
  • Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Charlie Gonzalez of Texas
  • Rep. Al Green of Texas
  • Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Raul Grijalva of Arizona
  • Congressional Hispanic Caucus Immigration Task Force Chair Luis V. Gutierrez of Illinois
  • Immigration Subcommittee Ranking Democrat Zoe Lofgren of California
  • Rep. Grace Napolitano of California
  • Rep. Terri A. Sewell of Alabama
  • Rep. Silvestre Reyes of Texas.

Preliminary Schedule for November 21, 2011.

All events are in Birmingham and all times local (CT).

2:00 p.m. Press Conference for Members of the Congressional Delegation

Location: Birmingham City Council Chambers – Birmingham City Hall, 710 20th Street North

3:00-5:00 p.m. Ad Hoc Hearing: The impact of HB56 on families, businesses, agriculture, law enforcement and civil society.

Location: Birmingham City Council Chambers


7:00 p.m. Members of the Congressional Delegation will participate in the launch of the “One Family One Alabama Campaign to Repeal HB56”

Hosted by the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice (ACIJ)

Location: Historic 16th Street Baptist Church (1530 Sixth Ave. North)

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