A medical association has pulled its meeting out of an Alabama hotel in protest over the state’s immigration law, according to the Mobile Press-Register.
The newspaper reports that the board of the Association of Departments of Family Medicine, Leawood, Kan., decided not to hold its winter meeting next February at the Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel and Spa because of HB 56, which has been called the strictest immigration law in the country. The 140-person meeting would have generated 500 to 600 room nights and about $700,000 in economic impact, reports the Press-Register.
Governor Robert Benchley signed the immigration legislation into law last June. Under the bill, police can detain individuals based on “reasonable suspicion” that they are illegal immigrants if they do not produce the proper documentation. It also bars illegal immigrants from attending state colleges and universities and requires public school officials to ascertain whether students are illegal immigrants. The law has been challenged as unconstitutional and is being appealed. Similar laws are being challenged in Arizona and Georgia.
Local ADFM leaders had lobbied to have the meeting in Mobile following the BP oil spill in 2010. However, association officials said the law creates an environment that threatens the security and comfort of members, reports the Press-Register.