10/14/2011

Federal Court Blocks Two Major Elements of Alabama’s Anti-Immigrant Law

A federal appeals court today blocked certain key provisions of Alabama’s anti-immigrant law while the constitutionality of the law is under determination.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit enjoined two provisions of the law that went into effect following a federal district court’s decision in Alabama. The injunction suspends these two provisions while the Court of Appeals considers the parties' appeals from the lower court’s decision. Provisions that have not been enjoined by either the District Court or the Court of Appeals remain in effect.

Provisions blocked by the court today are:

  • the provision that chills children’s access to school by requiring school officials to verify the immigration status of children and their parents.
  • the provision that criminalizes failure to register with the federal government and carry one’s “papers” at all times.

Major parts of the law went into effect two weeks ago, creating a crisis in the state. Many families have fled Alabama, while others have been denied access to water. Many parents have pulled their children out of schools as a climate of fear and panic has set in.

The following statement was issued by the civil rights coalition, including the SPLC, that challenged HB 56 in the lawsuit HICA v Bentley:

“We are pleased that the court blocked these damaging elements of the law. But portions of the law that remain in place will continue to exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in Alabama. In just two weeks that the law has been in effect, families have been fleeing the state, children have been pulled out of schools, and businesses have been put in jeopardy. This law sadly revisits Alabama’s painful racial past and tramples the rights of all its residents.”

The coalition includes the Southern Poverty Law Center, the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Immigration Law Center, ACLU of Alabama, the Asian Law Caucus, the National Day Laborers’ Organizing Network, AAJC, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

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