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Its name aside, the commission is interesting not so much for what it may end up saying -- federal law largely controls in the realm of illegal immigration, even if states bear most of its costs -- as for the rift it may reveal among Alabama Republicans. The legislative force behind the panel's creation, Sen. Scott Beason of Gardendale, asserts in today's Huntsville Times that business and industry groups so dominate the group that its findings are preordained.
It may seem a bit surprising to hear a GOP politician arguing that businesses are getting too much say in something. That's especially so when you consider that five of the nine business representatives on the 21-member panel are there because Beason's fellow Republican, Gov. Bob Riley, put them there.
Remember, though, that Beason for a time last year considered a grassroots run for Alabama Republican Party chairman against Riley's favorite candidate, Mike Hubbard, before deciding not to fight that battle. Beason remains a strong force among the state GOP's social conservatives, so his remarks about the immigration committee lead one to wonder if Riley needs to engage in some intra-party fence-mending.
After all, it would be the patriotic thing to do.