12/01/2011 08:21 am ET

Alabama Immigration Law: PBS' Need To Know Witnesses Cop Arresting Undocumented Immigrant (VIDEO)

Watch Alabama: The immigration battle on PBS. See more from NEED TO KNOW.

By now you know that states all over the country are cracking down on illegal immigration. Perhaps no immigration law is tougher than Alabama's. It gives local law enforcement the right to arrest suspected illegal immigrants who are stopped for even minor traffic violations. The measure has sparked lawsuits by civil rights organizations and the U.S. Department of Justice, which calls it unconstitutional.

"Need to Know" traveled to Alabama to report on opposition to the new anti-immigration law from an unexpected source: the sheriff of the state’s biggest county. Sheriff Mike Hale said controlling immigration was best left to the federal government. For now, Hale is refusing to enforce a law he believes diverts precious time and resources from crime-fighting. Hale also admitted concerns about racial profiling.

Asked why Alabama needed this immigration law, Senator Scott Beason responded: "The number one reason is jobs," explaining that enforcement would help solve the high unemployment rate.

"Need To Know" interviewed a man who was on his way home from work when he was stopped by police for driving without a license. Pedro Antonio, a father of two, served 20 days in jail for his infraction. Now he's in a federal detention center pending deportation.

"I left my country to work hard here. I didn't do anything bad," says Antonio. "I'm here to provide for my family and put food on the table."

When Karla Murthy asked Senator Beason about Pedro, Beason said: "You don't know the background on anyone. I can tell you that story. Anyone can tell you that story. But the issue really is, who are elected to protect? You cannot continue to allow millions upon millions of people to come into the country, regardless of their story."