By Kelli Dugan, Reuters
MOBILE, Alabama - Alabama's governor signed into law revisions to the state's controversial immigration statute on Friday, despite his earlier suggestions he might veto the measure because it did not make enough changes to the toughest state crackdown against illegal immigrants.
Republican Governor Robert Bentley had publicly urged lawmakers to modify sections of the law that took effect last year and which sparked lawsuits by the Obama administration and immigrant rights groups that argued it is unconstitutional.
But legislators made only minor changes to the law, which has also been criticized by businesses and farmers in the Southern state, who say it has led to widespread departures of Hispanic workers and created a labor shortage.
The revised law also maintains a section from the original law that requires school systems to account for the immigration status of students unable to provide valid proof of residency.
Olivia Turner, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, said the governor should have pushed harder for changes to controversial parts of the law.
"Governor Bentley had the opportunity to send a message to lawmakers that the racial profiling, discrimination and fear these laws spark must be stopped," she said. "Sadly, he declined. We are hopeful the courts will soon overturn these shameful measures once and for all." [MORE]