Ala. loses workers as immigration law takes effect

Alabama's strict new immigration law was touted by state legislators as a job creation bill.

The idea was to force illegal workers out of jobs and open them up for legal residents. Early indications are the plan is backfiring.

Few people are filling any of the vacancies that have been created by the construction workers, landscapers and farmers who are leaving. The absence will surely deal a blow to the state's economy and could slow the rebuilding of Tuscaloosa and other tornado-damaged cities.

It's not clear how many of an estimated 185,000 Hispanic people in the state have fled. One estimate figured as much one-fourth of the commercial building work force had left since much of the law was upheld last week.


Meanwhile, a federal judge has refused to put portions of Alabama's new immigration law on hold while opponents appeal her order that let major parts of the law take effect a week ago.

U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn refused to issue a stay Wednesday afternoon.

[DOCUMENT: Judge denies emergency appeal request]

She ruled a week ago that major portions of the law could go into effect while opponents challenged them.

The U.S. Justice Department and a coalition of civil rights group had asked her to put that on hold while they appealed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)