Other Immigrant Groups In Alabama Less Concerned Than Latinos About Immigration Law

Other Immigrant Groups In Alabama Less Concerned Than Latinos About Immigration Law

11/14/2011

The tough new law of Alabama that targets illegal immigrants has provoked a great degree of concern among Hispanics, which even caused some to leave the state. However, members of other immigrant groups seem to be less worried.

Mai Nguyen, a refugee from Vietnam who arrived more than two decades ago in Bayou La Batre, the center of the state’s Gulf Coast seafood industry, said that there were some initial fears, particularly among those whose English speaking ability is limited.

Nguyen, through a translator, said, “I was a little worried when I first heard about it because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to explain to a police officer that I’m here legally. But now she says that her focus of concern is more about the shrimp harvest than anything else.

Nguyen belongs to a thriving community of Southeast Asians who settled in the state after the Vietnam War. Since they are legal permanent residents or naturalized American citizens, the new law of Alabama, which targets illegal immigration, should not affect them.

The implementation of some sections of the law have been stopped by courts, but a provision that allow authorities to check the immigration status of a person during a traffic stop still stands. A few immigrants, even those who are in the country legally, worry that this might lead to racial profiling or improper detentions. But the police and supporters of the law dismissed these concerns, saying that it will never come to that.

The Southeast Asian communities in Bayou La Batre, particularly those who belong to the older generation, have been encouraged to file their applications for wallet-size passport cards that they can easily take with them anywhere they go.

WRITTEN BY:

blakeh@wellsdrew.com