It appears that Alabama officials are slowly but surely realizing that the tough anti-illegal immigration law they passed in 2010 is out of bounds.
Officials in our neighboring state seemed to have gotten more joy from passing that law than seeing Auburn and Alabama win back-to-back-to-back national championships on the football field in the past three seasons.
When the bill was signed into law, they probably raised their arms at the Capitol in Montgomery like referees do when a touchdown is scored.
Now, it seems some replays are in order and a few points, er, parts of the "nation's toughest anti-illegal immigration law," as it is called, are being taken off the scoreboard for excessive celebration.
(Don't you just love it when old sportswriters-turned-political pundits use football analogies whenever they can? Truth is, as coaches are wont to remind any boy whoever snapped on a chin-strap, the lessons learned on the gridiron often can be applied to real-life situations.)
Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange is saying that if they expect him to employ a solid defense when he argues in favor of the law before the federal courts, he needs to punt a few provisions of the measure back to the lawmakers, who so eagerly had said "hut, hut, go" or "aye" on their supposedly game-winning, illegal aliens-extraditing touchdown run.
Strange says churches should not draw a penalty flag when they transport or "encourage" illegals involved in their ministries. He also doesn't like the provision requiring schools to gather immigration status information about their students. Many families with students in school have been forced to flee the state because of harassment (but none with a superstar quarterback capable of leading Auburn or Alabama to another national title).
The attorney general also would like to nullify the provision involving "business transactions" that has created long waiting lines for obtaining driver's licenses and car tags. Numerous private businesses have been adversely affected, including those in agriculture. Some farmers across Alabama have had trouble finding enough labor to harvest their crops.
"Alabama the Beautiful" (its state motto) was recently embarrassed when Tuscaloosa policemen arrested a German executive with Mercedes Benz's local plant because his "papers" didn't comply with the new immigration law. He had been stopped because he was driving a rental car that didn't have a tag on it. Gov. Robert Bentley had to mediate the dispute, even though his office commended the law officer for making a legal tackle.
This reminded me of 1964 when law officers where I lived in Mississippi, at the height of the town's extreme racial troubles, infamously arrested legendary pitcher and broadcaster Dizzy Dean because he, a white man, was seen riding in a car with two black women. One worked for Dean's family. The women had driven him from where he lived in the state to my hometown to catch a train to Chicago, where he was scheduled to broadcast a game. Unknowing law officers initially thought he was one of those agitating civil rights workers from the north; our governor also had some explaining -- and much apologizing -- to do.
That was another touchdown called back.
Mac Gordon is a retired reporter who lives near Blakely and writes an occasional opinion column for The Albany Herald.