Alabama Hispanics protest new law on immigration

By JAY REEVES | October 12, 2011 | 11:20 AM EDT

ALBERTVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Businesses are closed and hundreds of children are out of class as Hispanic immigrants protest Alabama's tough new crackdown on illegal immigration.

At least a half-dozen poultry plants closed or slowed operations in heavily Hispanic northeast Alabama on Wednesday.

Dozens of immigrant-owned stores and other businesses were closed, and workers at other establishments say customers are few and far between.

School officials are reporting high absentee rates among Hispanic students in northeast Alabama.

The protests are being promoted partly through the use of Facebook and other social media. Supporters say they want to show the economic impact of Hispanic people in Alabama and demonstrate solidarity in opposition to the law.

The Obama administration is among the critics of the new law who are asking a federal appeals court to block enforcement.