“HB 56 seeks to drive all immigrants out of Alabama. The courts need to send a strong message that it is not permissible under the law.”-- Sin Yen Ling, senior staff attorney with the Asian Law Caucus
“This law is not only anti-immigrant, it is anti-American. It will criminalize Alabamians for everyday interactions with people who are here without documents, such as driving someone to the grocery store or to church, and law enforcement officers will be required to violate the constitutional rights of citizens and non-citizens alike.”-- Olivia Turner, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama
“By creating this law, which impacts not just undocumented immigrants but citizens and legal immigrants who might look ‘foreign’ or speak with an accent, Alabama makes all communities less safe.”-- Erin Oshiro, senior staff attorney at the Asian American Justice Center
“Alabama has declared war on immigrants, primarily Latino immigrants. Every Latino in Alabama, regardless of status, is at risk.”-- Juan Cartagena of LatinoJustice PRLDEF
“Not only is Alabama’s law blatantly unconstitutional, it flies in the face of American values by authorizing racial profiling, deterring children from going to school, and criminalizing those who lend a hand to individuals deemed by the state of Alabama to be ‘illegal.’”-- Andre Segura, staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project
MONTGOMERY, ALA. ― The National Immigration Law Center and a coalition of other civil rights groups filed a motion July 21 asking a federal judge to block Alabama’s anti-immigrant law from taking effect Sept. 1.
The motion for preliminary injunction, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, follows a federal lawsuit the groups filed earlier this month that charged the law is unconstitutional on multiple grounds. Alabama’s law, which affects myriad aspects of daily life for countless Alabamians, is even more restrictive than Arizona’s infamous SB 1070, which has been blocked by the courts.
“This law flies in the face of the core rights and liberties our Constitution was designed to preserve,” said Linton Joaquin, general counsel of the National Immigration Law Center, “Alabamians, like all Americans, deserve better than to saddle local teachers, law enforcement officers, and business people with the additional responsibility of asking children, customers, and community members for their ‘papers.’ We are hopeful that the court will block this discriminatory and unconstitutional law before it takes effect and causes irreparable harms for countless Alabamians.”
The Alabama law was signed into law in June by Gov. Robert Bentley and is the harshest of the Arizona copycat state laws.
The lawsuit charges that HB 56:
- Chills children’s access to public schools by requiring school officials to verify the immigration status of children and their parents.
- Authorizes police to demand “papers” demonstrating citizenship or immigration status during traffic stops and criminalizes Alabamians for ordinary interactions with undocumented individuals.
- Unconstitutionally interferes with federal authority over immigration matters ― a violation of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. It also subjects Alabamians ― including U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents ― to unlawful search and seizure, a violation of the Fourth Amendment.
Alabama is one of six states that have enacted a law emulating Arizona’s controversial SB 1070. Federal courts have been unanimous in blocking similar provisions in Arizona, Utah, Indiana and Georgia. The coalition has also vowed to challenge South Carolina’s anti-immigrant law.
“This law so undermines our core American values of fairness and equality that it is essential this be weighed before the law is allowed to go into effect,” said Mary Bauer, legal director for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). “When the Speaker of the House, who championed this law and guided it to passage, is acknowledging it has problems, it is clear we have a serious issue.”
The motion for and memorandum in support of preliminary injunction is available at http://www.nilc.org/immlawpolicy/LocalLaw/HICA-v-Bentley-PImotion-2011-07-21.pdf