Federal Appeals Court Puts Alabama Immigration Crackdown on Hold


Yesterday the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals placed a temporary hold on two parts of Alabama's controversial crackdown on undocumented immigrants. This follows an earlier ruling by the same court, issued in October 2011, that placed other provisions from the state law on hold. Essentially, the 11th Circuit is now just waiting to see what the U.S. Supreme Court does later this term in Arizona v. United States, which deals with Arizona's notorious "papers please" law H.B. 1070. The central issue in both the Alabama and Arizona cases is whether federal immigration law trumps the various state statutes. Here's how the opposing sides in the Alabama dispute characterized their conflict, as reported yesterday by The Atlanta Journal Constitution:

In a prepared statement issued Thursday, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange said he disagreed with the court's decision.

"I will continue to vigorously defend Alabama's immigration law in the courts," he said. "I am hopeful that the Supreme Court's coming decision in the Arizona case will make clear that our law is constitutional."

The American Civil Liberties Union cheered the court's decision.

"These provisions were designed to make it impossible for ordinary families to live in Alabama by stripping them of their ability to engage in contracts—like rental agreements or car leases—and to do any business with the state government," Cecillia Wang, director of the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project, said in a prepared statement. "They are unconstitutional, and the court rightly blocked them pending a final ruling on the appeal."

For more on Arizona's H.B. 1070, see here and here. For more on Alabama's law, see here. For why Arizona v. U.S. is one of the top Supreme Court cases to watch this term, click below.