Alabama’s HB 56 is the harshest anti-immigrant law in the country. Becoming Visible is a response from Alabama citizens to a law we believe is bringing back Jim Crow. Here we put a human face on the issue by telling real immigrant stories.

Cristian, immigrant mother

I’m a stay-at-home mother of four. My husband and I crossed the border in 2009. Now we are saving to go back. My husband was a brick mason and cook here, but lost his job. Because of HB 56, I’m afraid to go to Walmart. I’m afraid to walk the kids to the bus, afraid [...]

Ezequiel Gutierrez, legal bakery owner

I own a bakery in Russelville, and my business has fallen 60%. People here in Russelville are scared, and I have friends who have gone to Kansas, Mississippi, Chicago. They left only because of the new law. When I came here, this was the best place I had been — much better than California. This [...]

U.W. Clemon, Alabama’s first black federal judge

As a young civil rights activist in the 1960′s, U.W. Clemon marched with Martin Luther King, challenged Bull Connor and George Wallace, and helped desegregate the University of Alabama. “Ours is a country basically that is based on immigration. We are a nation of immigrants. Only two categories of Americans don’t fall into the category [...]

Jose, Carlos Pineda, son of store owner in Foley

I’m 13, and I live in Foley, where my dad Guadelupe Pineda-Rios owns a market, a butcher shop and a restaurant. He’s told me many times about how he saved to start a business—a Mexican working odd jobs for little pay — in a field for $15 a day, in a market for $7 an [...]

*Angelita, undocumented mother of honor student

I work in Foley shucking oysters. I was nervous about driving to my children’s school because I am undocumented and I could be pulled over by the police and detained. But I went anyway because my children need a good education and their teachers care about them. One of my children is on the honor [...]

Jose Contreras, U.S. Citizen, Hispanic business owner

My wife and I run a restaurant and a store on Main Street in Albertville, Alabama, where we have 4000 Hispanic residents. When I opened my first business here 12 years ago, the storefronts next to mine were mostly empty and there were only three Latino businesses in town. Today, my two businesses are surrounded [...]

Scott Douglas III, Executive Director, Greater Birmingham Ministries

An older white woman, her lips dripping with nullification and interposition, came up to me and said, “Young man, we got to do somethin’ about them Mexicans. They’re taking jobs away from our good colored people.” I think it was the asking—demanding—that churches not harbor or in any way assist immigrants that got the attention [...]

Luis Gutierrez, U.S. Congressman

These are trying times in Alabama. I’ve been speaking out against anti-immigration laws. I was among the dozens of protestors arrested outside the White House after I received a letter from President Obama rejecting our proposal to suspend deportations of undocumented college students with clean criminal records. What I saw in Alabama when I was [...]

Mayra Rangel of Oneonta, Alabama

I live in Oneonta, a north central town in Blount County, Alabama. Since this law passed everyone I know has been leaving. But, how do you pack up 16 years of your life and expect to start new somewhere else? And why should you be afraid to talk to the police? We’re scared of the [...]

Cineo Gonzales, father of racially profiled daughter

My daughter is in the first grade in public school. The other day she came home with a document explaining HB 56, the new anti-immigration law in Alabama. Se was upset because she’s a U.S. citizen, but she and the other Latino student in the class were given these letters in front of the other [...]


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