Alabama’s new immigration law was billed as the harshest in the nation, but apparently lawmakers—including some who voted for the bill—didn’t realize exactly what that meant. Long lines have formed at some courthouses as residents are required to show proof of citizenship for everything from getting a dog license to paying property taxes, leading many politicians to call for changes to the law. "The longer the bill has been out, the more unintended consequences we have found," one Republican state senator tells the New York Times. "All of us realize we need to change it."
The law requires proof of immigration status for "any transaction between a person and the state or a political subdivision of the state"—and Alabama lawyers say the passage could be read as applying to "almost everything that we do," meaning that one would need to show identification to be eligible to get garbage pickup, utilities like water, flu shots at county health departments, a spot on a Little League team, a county swimming pool membership… And penalties for not following the law are high, leading officials to “err on the side of caution” when requiring proof, says one judge. Lawmakers are walking a fine line, since the law is still popular with the majority of Alabama residents, but are looking at ditching entire sections as well as certain penalties.