How many mothers are weeping in Alabama? That’s what I keep asking myself as I scan the headlines and news stories coming out of the state now known as home to the harshest immigration law in the country. That’s what I keep wondering as I read descriptions of children vanishing from Alabama schools, of tearful mothers pulling little ones out of class, of the hundreds of empty desks in districts across the state. How many mothers are weeping? How many are hiding in fear or slipping silently across state lines—searching yet again for safe harbor, searching yet again for a place that offers promise instead of punishment? I think of those mothers—driven first from their own homelands by the impulse to open the door to a brighter life for their children, and driven away now by a law that seeks to lock that door and shatter the light. That law, the Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, upheld last week by a federal judge, authorizes law enforcement officials to check a person’s immigration status during routine arrests or traffic offenses and requires schools to check the citizenship status of any student who enrolls after Sept. 1.