Fed. judge upholds key parts of Ala. immigration law

Published: Sep. 28, 2011 at 5:05 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 29, 2011 at 2:55 AM CDT
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Gov. Robert Bentley reacts to the judge's ruling.
Gov. Robert Bentley reacts to the judge's ruling.

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WSFA) - A federal judge in Birmingham has made a ruling regarding Alabama's controversial new immigration law.

District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn ordered an injunction on Sections 8, 11, 13, 16 and 17 of Alabama House Bill 56, but refused to order an injunction on key parts of the law including Sections 10, 12, 18, 27, 28 and 30.

Blackburn said that federal law doesn't prohibit the state from requiring schools to check the immigration status of students or from requiring police to determine the status of suspected illegal immigrants.

She upheld the Obama administration's objections to other sections of the law, including making it a crime for an illegal immigrant to solicit work or for anyone to transport or harbor an illegal immigrant.


[Judge Blackburn's Ruling #1]
[Summary of Ruling #1]

[Judge Blackburn's Ruling #2]
[Summary of Ruling #2]

[Judge Blackburn's Ruling #3]
[Summary of Ruling #3]

Section 8 prohibits an unauthorized alien from attending or enrolling in an public postsecondary education institution in the state.

Section 11(a) makes it a misdemeanor crime for an unauthorized alien to apply for, solicit, or perform work.

Section 13 makes it unlawful for a person to 1) conceal, harbor or shield an alien unlawfully present in the United States, or attempt or conspire to do so; 2) encourage an unlawful alien to come to the State of Alabama; or 3) to transport (or attempt or conspire to transport) an unlawful alien.

Section 16 forbids employers from claiming as a business tax deductions any wages paid to an unauthorized alien.

Section 17 creates a civil cause of action against an employer who fails to hire or discharges a U.S. citizen or an alien who is authorized to work while hiring, or retaining, an unauthorized alien.

Here are the portions of the law she would not issue an injunction on:

Section 10 Creates a criminal misdemeanor violation under Alabama law for willful failure to complete or carry an alien registration document if the person is in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1304(e) or 8 U.S.C. § 1306(a) and is unlawfully present in the United States.

Section 12 requires a law enforcement officer to make a reasonable attempt, when practicable, to determine the citizenship and immigration status of a person stopped, detained or arrested when reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States.

Section 18 amends Ala. Code 32-6-9 to include a provision that if a person is arrested for driving without a license, and the officer is unable to determine that the person has a valid driver's license, the person must be transported to the nearest magistrate; a reasonable effort shall be made to determine the citizenship of the driver, and if found to be unlawfully present in the United States the driver shall be detained until prosecution or until handed over to federal immigration authorities.

Section 27 bars Alabama courts from enforcing a contract to which a person who is unlawfully present in the United States is a party.

Section 28 requires every public elementary and secondary school in Alabama to determine if an enrolling student was born outside the jurisdiction of the United States or is the child of an unlawfully present alien and qualifies for assignment to an English as second language class or other remedial program.

Section 30 makes it a felony for an alien not lawfully present in the United States to enter into a "business transaction" with the State of Alabama or any political subdivision thereof.

Governor Robert Bentley called the ruling a "victory for Alabama," but he said he would work the state Attorney General to make sure the entire law is upheld.

"With those parts that were upheld, we have the strongest immigration law in the country," the Governor said.  "I believe that all sections of our law will be upheld, and I will continue to work with our attorney general as we await Judge Blackburn's decision on the temporary injunctions."

Judge Blackburn will now rule on the legality of the enjoined provisions.  The State of Alabama has the option to appeal the ruling now, or wait until Judge Blackburn's final ruling.  Legal analysts expect the case to eventually make it to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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