Eleventh Circuit Blocks Additional Portions of Alabama Immigration Law
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has included additional provisions of a controversial Alabama immigration law in its injunction. The court ruled that Alabama may not enforce provisions barring undocumented people in Alabama from obtaining a driver’s license and barring courts from enforcing contracts involving the undocumented, pending a challenge to the law by the Obama administration. The administration argues that immigration law and regulation is a federal responsibility. In October, the court prevented Alabama from criminalizing the failure to carry documents evidencing legal resident status and requiring schools to check children’s immigration status when they enroll.
Alabama’s attorney general, Luther Strange, reportedly said that he hopes that “the Supreme Court’s coming decision in [a similar case from Arizona] will make clear that our law is constitutional.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) noted that several of the bill’s cosponsors conflated the growth in Alabama’s Hispanic population with growth in “illegal immigrants.” SPLC quoted a judge’s decision in December citing lawmakers’ comments such as their having visited a poultry plant and seen “4-foot Mexicans in there catching them chickens.” SPLC’s article on the law are available online. An SPLC report, “Alabama’s Shame: HB 56 and the War on Immigrants,” recounts several of the thousands of stories received on its hotline for residents established shortly after the law took effect, including accounts of its impact on legal immigrants and even U.S. citizens. The report is available here.