Court blocks parts of Alabama immigration law, upholds others
A federal appeals court Friday temporarily blocked portions of Alabama's strict immigration law, most notably a provision requiring public schools to check the immigration status of students.
But the court also upheld a provision requiring police to check the residency status of suspected illegal immigrants during traffic stops.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued the order after the Justice Department requested that the court block the law until the court could consider it fully. Government lawyers contended, as they have in challenges of similar laws in other states, that the legislation was preempted by federal immigration laws.
The legislation, known as HB 56 and signed by Republican Gov. Robert J. Bentley in June, is widely considered the toughest of the handful of immigration laws in the nation.
The court upheld provisions that make all contracts knowingly entered into with illegal immigrants invalid and makes it a felony for illegal immigrants to enter into “business transactions” with the state, including applying for driver or business licenses.
A final decision on the law is not expected for months to allow for additional argument.
After a federal judge upheld much of the new immigration law in late September, anecdotal reports suggest that many of the state's estimated 130,000 illegal immigrants fled the state. Some restaurant and construction workers stopped showing up to work and scores of students were absent from schools.
In Albertville and other towns across the state Wednesday, dozens of immigrant-owned stores closed in protest of the new law. Many Latino workers protested as well by taking the day off, forcing some businesses to close for the day.
-- Stephen Ceasar
Photo: A sign on the door of a Latino business that was closed Wednesday ends with the words "A day without Latinos" in downtown Russellville, Ala. Credit: Matt McKean / TimesDaily