Alabama officials want a federal court to allow the new state law cracking down on illegal immigration to take effect on Sept. 1. The Obama Administration, as well as civil rights groups, have filed suits seeking to block the measure, which allows police to detain anyone they suspect is undocumented. Among other things, the law also calls for penalties for harboring, employing and transporting undocumented immigrants.Efe
Atlanta – A coalition of civic organizations on Thursday presented a legal motion for a court injunction to delay the implementation of Alabama's harsh anti-immigration law, set to take effect Sept. 1.
"Not only is Alabama's law blatantly unconstitutional, it flies in the face of American values by authorizing racial profiling, deterring children from going to school, and criminalizing those who lend a hand to individuals deemed by the state of Alabama to be 'illegal,'" said Andre Segura, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants' Rights Project.
The motion was presented in a federal court in Huntsville, Alabama, by the same coalition that in early July filed a lawsuit against the law.
In addition to the ACLU, other members of the coalition are the Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Immigration Law Center, among others.
ACLU representatives said that if it goes into effect, HB 56 "will criminalize" Alabama residents for having everyday contact with undocumented people and the police will be obligated to violate the constitutional rights of both citizens and non-citizens.
According to the plaintiffs, the new law is "even more restrictive than Arizona's infamous SB 1070," the measure that inspired anti-immigrant legislation in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and other states.
HB 56 authorizes police to detain anyone they suspect is undocumented and mandates criminal penalties for people who transport undocumented migrants.
The law also requires companies to use the federal E-Verify program to ensure that jobseekers are authorized to work in the United States.
In addition, the law demands that the state's public schools determine the immigration status of all students and deny access to state-supported colleges and universities to undocumented immigrants.
"This law so undermines our core American values of fairness and equality that it is essential this be weighed before the law is allowed to go into effect," Mary Bauer, legal director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, said in announcing the request for an injunction.
Alabama has been the most recent state to follow in the footsteps of Arizona by approving harsh laws against illegal immigration similar to SB 1070.
"We have already stopped even less oppressive laws in Arizona, Utah, Indiana and Georgia," the ACLU's Segura said.
Federal courts to date have blocked the entry into force of the harshest provisions of these laws in the states of Arizona, Utah, Indiana and Georgia.
The plaintiffs contend that the Alabama law violates the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by permitting illegal search and seizure.