Published on February 1, 2012  

The Birmingham Area Consortium for Higher Education will host a free, public forum on Alabama’s immigration law, HB 56 or the Hammon-Beason Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, Feb. 9-10, 2012, on the campuses of Samford and University of Alabama at Birmingham. BACHE’s goal for the forum, according to its website, is “to provide comprehensive coverage of immigration policy at the federal, state and local levels and to present information on the ways HB 56 has impacted social life in Alabama.”

Presentations and panel discussions on Thursday, Feb. 9, will take place in UAB’s Alys Stephens Center Jemison Concert Hall; the events on Friday, Feb. 10, will be held in Samford University’s Dwight Beeson Hall.

Confirmed participants include national and local experts on immigration policy, constitutional rights, law enforcement, public health, education, demography, economics and more:

·         Daniel Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform

·         Mary Giovagnoli, director of the Immigration Policy Center

·         Joyce White Vance, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama

·         Mary Bauer, legal director at the Southern Poverty Law Center

·         Samuel Addy, Ph.D., director of the University of Alabama Center for Business and Economic Analysis

·         Casey Borch, Ph.D., research associate at the Center for Demographic Research at Auburn University at Montgomery and assistant professor in the UAB Department of Sociology

·         Sonny Brasfield, executive director of the Association of County Commissions of Alabama

·         William Lawrence, principal of Foley Elementary School in Baldwin County

·         Carlos Torrez-Sanches, international program manager for the Jefferson County Department of Public Health

·         Pia Orrenius, assistant vice president and senior economist at the Dallas Federal Reserve

·         Lawrence Downes, member of the editorial board at The New York Times  

·         Sen. J. T. “Jabo” Waggoner, R, District 16, Alabama State Senate

·         Sen. Billy Beasley, D, District 28, Alabama State Senate

·         Rep. Patricia Todd, D, District 54, Alabama House of Representatives

A complete list of confirmed speakers and panelists can be found here:

At 4 p.m. Thursday, Addy and Borch will present a new report on HB 56’s economic and demographic impact on the State of Alabama. Also, at 7 p.m., independent filmmakers Shari Robertson and Michael Camerini will give a special presentation on the making of Twelve Stories: How Democracy Works Now. This 12-part HBO documentary chronicles the recent efforts of the U.S. Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

The Birmingham Consortium for Higher Education is a partnership among the five, four-year colleges and universities in the greater Birmingham area. Created by the presidents in 1996 to advance academic excellence through collaborative activities and shared resources, BACHE enhances educational opportunities for students and provides services and support to faculty, staff and the community.

For more information, go to

Samford will present several other events related to ethnicity and race in Feb. and March, including a second immigration conference Feb. 23.


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.