Parts of Alabama immigration law blocked by federal appeals court
From CNN: A federal appeals court has blocked enforcement of parts of a controversial immigration enforcement law in Alabama. The injunction issued Friday from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta came after the U.S. Justice Department — supported by a coalition of immigrant rights groups — requested the legislation, known as HB 56, be put on hold until the larger constitutional questions can be addressed, a process that could take some months at least.
The 16-page order gives both sides partial victories, allowing some parts of the law to go into effect while others are temporarily blocked.
The Obama administration says the Constitution does not permit states to deter illegal immigration, saying an issue with foreign policy implications is the exclusive mandate of the federal government.
Among the provisions temporarily blocked from being enforced are:
- One requiring state officials to check the immigration status of students in public schools.
- One making “willful failure to complete or carry an alien registration card” a misdemeanor for immigrants.
But the state will be allowed to enforce these contested sections:
- One requiring that police during “lawful” stops or arrests “attempt to determine the immigration status of a person who they suspect is an unauthorized alien of this country.” That provision is similar to other laws aiming to crack down on illegal immigration passed by other state legislatures over the past year.
- One barring state courts from enforcing contracts involving undocumented immigrants, if the hiring party had a “direct or constructive” knowledge that the person was in the country unlawfully.
- One making it a felony for illegal immigrants to enter into a “business transaction” in Alabama, including applying for a driver’s license or a business license.
The appeals court also announced it would hear oral arguments on the constitutional questions on an expedited basis, as early as December. The issues in Alabama and in other states with similar crackdown laws may ultimately have to be settled by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, who signed the law in June, has said it would not have been needed “if the federal government would have done its job and enforced the laws dealing with this problem. However, they have failed to do that.”
I believe that the provisions the State of Alabama one are the most important. Hopefully the state will win all the mandates they request and be able to do what the federal government has not been able to do (or refuses to do).