Hearing on immigration laws' impact

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights held a hearing Friday on the impact of Alabama and Arizona's immigration laws. The panel heard from around 20 witnesses on how the law has impacted their economies and communities.

The event was held at the Sheraton in downtown Birmingham.

One of the most heated debates occurred on the panel, featuring Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State, who helped write both states' laws. Alabama Senator Scott Beason (R-Gardendale), who was a sponsor of Alabama's law, also testified. The two contend the laws aren't discriminatory. In fact, Sen. Beason says passing the law has helped citizens find work. However, people who oppose the laws, countered those points by mentioning possible racial profiling from law enforcement that the laws bring about.

The meeting came to a halt early on when protestors shouted at panelists. They were quickly escorted out by security.

The Commission plans to compile all the information and release its own findings later this year.