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.

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  1. *Takes hit of cigarette*

    1. (Datebi.CoM)

      1. (Datebi.CoM)

  2. That's a real shame.

    Alabama would have provided a rare real world experiment on the claims of immigration advocates and opponents.

  3. The Supremes may not see it this way, but in fact the Constitution does NOT give the federal government power over immigration, but only over NATURALIZATION, ie process of becoming a citizen. The justification of federal power over immigration (people come here to work not necessarily to become a citizen)comes only from the stretchable "Necessary and proper clause", not from the body of the Constitution.

    1. Well, yeah, but its like over 100 years old, etc.

      I mean, it says Congress has the power to:

      To establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

      Who the fuck knows what that means?

    2. The problem with this theory of "ZOMG! NATURALIZATION ONLY!" is that if the states have some implied power through the Tenth Amendment to independently regulate immigration, that makes Congress' express power to create a "uniform rule of naturalization" irrelevant. (E.g., if Congress passes a law stating that an individual must reside in the U.S. for at least five years before applying for citizenship, but Alabama passes a law stating that no foreign national may reside in the state for more than 90 days, there is no "uniform rule" for naturalization in the country.) This is before even considering the point that federal immigration policy in some instances is a product of international agreements, which the states are expressly prohibited from independently engaging in under Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution.

      1. The hitch in your counter-theory is that Alabama isn't seeking to deny residence to foreign nationals who entered the country under established federal immigration policy.

      2. Not really. Immigration is about who is allowed to cross your border.

        Naturalization is about who is allowed to become a citizen.

        We already have separate legal regimes for them at the federal level. The rules for naturalization are very different than the rules for immigration, and indeed you can change up either set of rules quite a bit without affecting the other.

        So, in your example, if Alabama wants to kick out furriners after 90 days, it has no affect at all on either the federal naturalization rule, or even on the furriner's progress toward naturalization - they just have to move to another state.

      3. The other problem with the "ZOMG! NATURALIZATION ONLY!" theory (fact, actually, but for the sake of argument...) is that two months after anyone believed it there would be a Constitutional amendment that would empower the federal government to have pretty much the same powers over immigration that it claims today.

        Let's remember that the first federal immigration laws in the 1870s and the court cases testing that power were at the behest of states -- particularly California -- that felt overrun by the yellow horde.

    3. The Congress shall have Power To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions""'

      Definition of invasion - An intrusion or encroachment.

      So stopping foreigners from entering the US is within the power of Congress and therefore the Federal Government even to the point of calling out the Militia to do so which in the USA would include all able bodied men between the ages of 17 and 45

      1. Definition of invasion - An intrusion or encroachment.

        Invasions that warrant military responses are typically invasions by foreign armies, not groups of workers looking for jobs.

        1. The Constitution does not narrow it down to 'armed' invasion, it just says invasion. Nor does it say that the militia need to be armed either.

          1. Invasion clearly means "armed invasion" here. You'd have to have a "Second Amendment means only the National Guard can own rifles!" level of induced stupid to read it otherwise.

            1. No, you are the one who is narrowing down the meaning which is what happens when people say only the national guard can own rifles. It does not say armed so you can't narrow it down to just armed invasion.

      2. Sorry, DJF, but when you say "repel" invasions, I think you're talking about military invasions.

        Not to mention when you are talking about using a military force to "repel", etc.

        Remember, the Founders has a real allergy to using the military for law enforcement.

      3. I wonder if your liberal view of 'repel invasions' extends to the 'Commerce Clause' and 'Welfare Clause'.

        1. No, because the Constitution clearly says that Congress has the power to regulate commerce 'among the several states" not "within the several states" which is what the liberal view of the clause has been expanded too even to the point where little commerce is actually taking place.

          While the General Welfare clause is taken by the liberal to say that Congress can do anything as long as they say its for the General Welfare which means the rest of the Constitution limitations on government is overridden.

          1. And 900 character limit post

            My 'liberal' view of invasion comes from the actual word, invasion which is not limited to armed invasion by the very words in the Constitution. Nor is the response of being able to call up the Militia a need for an armed response since the Militia does not have to be armed to be called up since it can be used for many things such as law enforcement and emergencies such as fire, flooding, snow and even missing children. I am of course taking the original Militia not the present fake Militia called the National Guard.

          2. Do you have any proof that would suggest the people that wrote the constitution saw invaders the way you see them? Many of the founders wrote extensively on their intent. Hell, can you point point to any case law that would suggest that anyone interprets invasion to be anything other than armed invasion? As far as I can tell, you're pulling this interpretations straight from your ass.

  4. So, while I disagree with much of what AZ and AL are doing, the fact is that just like any tough issue, federalism is the best answer.

  5. It's confusing. I think we should be doing everything in our power to make it easier for workers to get here to do the work most American's won't do. At the same time how can the Federal Government and the Courts can take issue with a State not "aiding and abetting" a person being in this country illegally. I've read many times about companies being raided (by the feds) and fined for hiring illegals, about rich homeowners being fined or arrested for hiring illegals to do house or yard work. If someone is engaged in an action that can get them raided, arrested, fined, and jailed by the Federal Government then it seems strange that this same government would have an issue with the States trying to catch these same people. It is all about the Hispanic vote. Either make it easer for people to get here to work, or let the states help with the Feds, clearly misguided "illegals" policy

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