Groups ask judge to block Alabama immigration law


Gov. Robert Bentley signed the state's immigration law into effect on June 9. A coalition of groups is asking a federal judge to block its implementation. (Montgomery Advertiser, Mickey Welch)

A coalition of groups seeking to overturn Alabama’s strict new immigration law have asked a federal judge to block implementation of the law in a filing today.

The ACLU, SPLC and National Immigration Law Center were among the 38 plaintiffs that filed suit against the law earlier this month, calling it an anti-American law that violated the Constitution and would lead to racial profiling.

“Plaintiffs respectfully submit that this Court should enjoin HB 56 because it is a blatantly unconstitutional state law that regulates immigration and will require Alabama state and local officers to violate core constitutional rights,” says the filing, made in U.S. District Court in Huntsville.

A request for comment from Attorney General Luther Strange’s office was not immediately returned.

HB56, signed into law by Gov. Robert Bentley on June 9, makes it a crime to be an undocumented alien in Alabama and for aliens to work in Alabama. In addition, the law:

– Allows law enforcement officers to detain individuals they have a “reasonable suspicion” of having questionable immigration status;

– Requires proof of citizenship to be carried at all times;

– Requires school districts to ask for the immigration status of students;

– Bans undocumented aliens from attending post-secondary schools;

– Makes it illegal to give an undocumented worker a ride to work;

– Provides non-criminal penalties for businesses that employ undocumented aliens;

– Requires businesses to enroll in the E-Verify program starting April 1, 2012.

Defenders of the law say it is a response to the federal government’s lack of action on enforcing immigration laws, and claim it will boost employment in the state.

The request for a preliminary injunction says the law’s intent is “to control which classes of immigrants can enter and the conditions under which they can remain in Alabama – a brazen usurpation of the federal government’s exclusive authority.”

If the injunction is not granted, most provisions of the law will go into effect on Sept. 1.

– posted by Brian Lyman

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