Key provisions of Alabama’s new immigration law, widely considered to be the toughest in the United States, have been passed by a federal judge.
U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn has ruled that under the law, state police can now make “reasonable attempts” to determine the immigration status of a person who has not been arrested or detained. The judge rules that there must be reasonable suspicion to inquire about that status.
In her 115-page ruling, Blackburn noted that no part of the federal Immigration and Nationality Act “expressly preempts states from legislating on the issue of verification of an individual’s citizenship and immigration status.”
Not all parts of new laws passed successfully, however. Judge Blackburn ruled that Alabama authorities may not prevent undocumented people from applying for jobs or working in the state. Alabama may also not prohibit the transportation of individuals.
These new measures were originally signed into law on June 9th by Alabama Governor and first-term Republican Robert Bentley, but he barred its enforcement after the U.S. government and civil rights groups said they would sue to block the law.
Following the judgment yesterday, Bentley was in triumphant mood, stating:
“Yesterday is a victory for Alabama. The court agreed with us on a majority of the provisions that were challenged.”
It has been confirmed that the U.S. Justice Department is reviewing Judge Blackburn’s ruling, with a spokeswoman saying:
“We will continue to evaluate state immigration-related laws and will not hesitate to bring suit if, in fact, a state creates its own immigration policy or enforces state laws in a manner that interferes with federal immigration law.”
What do you make of Alabama’s laws? Too tough, or necessary measures?