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Alabama Anti-Immigration Law Upheld

September 30, 2011
Plain English Version

Federal District Court Judge Sarah Lovelace Blackburn

A federal judge in Alabama upheld the strictest laws in the nation against immigrants.

The judge said:

  • state and local law enforcement officials must try to verify a person’s immigration status during routine traffic stops or arrests, if there is “a reasonable suspicion” that the person is in the country illegally
  • the “willful failure” of a person in the country illegally to carry federal immigration papers could be treated as a crime
  • any contract entered into by an illegal immigrant can be nullified
  • any transaction between an illegal immigrant and any division of the state is forbidden
  • schools must determine the immigration status of students entering elementary and secondary schools

The federal courts have ruled that other states, such as Arizona, could not carry out those sections of the law in their state.

The judge is Sarah Lovelace Blackburn. She did not allow a section of the Alabama law that outlawed the harboring or transporting of illegal immigrants. She also said the law could not bar illegal immigrants from enrolling in or attending public universities. She issued preliminary injunction against their enforcement. She said the federal government had jurisdiction in those matters.

The American Civil Liberties Union and immigration advocacy groups in Alabama think the state law  punishes immigrants and is unconstitutional.  Farm groups worry about a shortage of farm labor. Some police think the law is too hard and expensive to enforce.

Most likely, the laws in question will be appealed and end up before the United States Supreme Court.

The New York Times





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