Here We May Rest

Alabama Immigrants in the Age of HB 56

Silvia Giagnoni

Foreword by Mónica Ramírez

Title Details

Pages: 302

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 04/01/2017

ISBN: 9-781-6030-6432-3

List Price: $29.95


NewSouth Books

Here We May Rest

Alabama Immigrants in the Age of HB 56

Silvia Giagnoni

Foreword by Mónica Ramírez

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  • Description
  • Reviews

Hailed as the most restrictive immigration bill in the nation, the Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer & Citizen Protection Act (known as HB 56) went into effect in September 2011. Its intent was to create jobs for Alabamians by making the lives of undocumented immigrants in the state impossible, so that they would self-deport. It failed.

Here We May Rest offers a comprehensive explanation of how and why HB 56 came about and reports on its effects on immigrant communities. Author Silvia Giagnoni argues that the legislation was anti-immigrant, not merely "anti-illegal immigration" as its proponents claimed. Building a case against the legalistic framework through which the bill was promoted, Giagnoni dissects the role the media, and Fox News specifically, played in criminalizing immigrants as well as mainstreaming immigrant-haters, which created the xenophobic climate that paved the way for the Trump Presidency.

The new immigrants of Alabama take center stage in the second part of the book, reclaiming their role in the cultural, social, and economic development of the state. Giagnoni concludes with an appeal against any form of social segregation because only direct contact—"massive, prolonged, equal and intimate," as Howard Zinn argued—will cure the stereotyping and prejudice that feed ignorance and foster fear.

Silvia Giagnoni brings to Here We May Rest: Alabama Immigrants in the Age of HB 56 a firm grounding in scholarship and methods of research and, more importantly perhaps, an empathy, a knowledge of what it feels like to live and work in a new country. In a series of 49 interviews, with both legal and undocumented immigrants, Giagnoni really puts a human face on the immigrants’ problems, fears, even despair. Giagnoni has studied the nuances of this legislation, chronicling the various parts that have been disallowed by the courts. Powerfully, she demonstrates that the legislation, even those parts that are, technically, legal, is cruel and resulted in consequences unforeseen as well as intended.

—Don Noble, Alabama Public Radio

Here We May Rest: Alabama Immigrants in the Age of HB 56 examines the history of attitudes about immigrants and immigration in Alabama, with an emphasis on recent decades. The story it tells is riveting and painful but very well researched and told. Silvia Giagnoni has done impressive archival research, and conducted interviews with politicians and many immigrants, who tell their stories in compelling fashion.

—Michael Thomason, Lagniappe

About the Author/Editor

SILVIA GIAGNONI is an associate professor in the Department of Communication and Theatre at Auburn University Montgomery. She divides her time between Alabama and Tuscany. She has published essays and books in English and Italian, including Fields of Resistance: The Struggle of Florida’s Farmworkers for Justice.