• 43°

Legislation will have to be followed

As with many pieces of legislation approved by the Alabama Legislature, the devil is in the details when it comes to the recently enacted Alabama Immigration Law.

While opponents of the bill bellow on one side of the street, those in support of the bill yell just as loudly on the other side of the street.

Unfortunately, while all that yelling is going on, there are those who simply want to go about their daily routine that are being caught in the middle. An example would be what happened last week at the Dallas County Courthouse license office.

Explain to those who stood in line the need for this legislation. Explain to those standing in line why a piece of legislation was now forcing them to stand hours in line for a process that took far less just a few days ago.

It’s probably a good thing you didn’t. Doing so didn’t come with hazard pay and well, you would have been on your own.

Those devilish details that state legislators often forget about are exactly how the state and county workers are to carry out new laws, enact new procedures and handle new transactions. As we reported, a new element of the new immigration legislation requires everyone applying for or renewing a license plate to provide proof they are in the country legally. This addition created problems with online renewals and renewals through the mail, which Dallas County Probate Judge Kim Ballard said last week, will put a strain on the courthouse staff and the patience of the public. And, adding tension to frustration and time to an already long stay in line, a problem with a scanner designed to determine the validity of license also created some issues.

“We try to inform everyone we can, but sometimes you will get people who stand in line with their renewal cards and get up there and find out they have to have their drivers license,” Ballard said. “There are also some people who we know have a valid license, but it won’t go through the scanner. There are still some bugs to work out.”

All of this is to say that the immigration law — like it or love it — is law. And, it is a law that we all must work to live within.

Thankfully the state has extended deadlines for those whose plates expired in September because of the long lines and long waits.

And, we should also be thankful for the patience of those who work at our courthouses. They are not the ones we should be frustrated with when they are asked to follow the letter of the law; rather it’s the lawmakers who far too often forget the real impact of the laws they pass.