The US District Court for the Northern District of Alabama entered a final judgment last week in United States v. Alabama, permanently prohibiting Alabama from enforcing seven provisions of HB 56, a severely restrictive anti-immigration law that affected all aspects of an undocumented immigrant’s life.
“The law forced parents to uproot their sons and daughters from their home, and it punished immigrant children for exercising their constitutional right to go to school,” said US Attorney Joyce White Vance who called the decision “a return to common-sense immigration law enforcement.”
The provisions affected employment, education, transportation, and housing for undocumented immigrants. They required schools to verify the immigration status of newly enrolled K-12 students, criminalized giving a ride or renting to someone who is undocumented, criminalized failing to register one’s immigration status, and criminalized the solicitation of work by unauthorized immigrants, among others.
The judgment of the District Court finalized a settlement reached between the parties. It follows an earlier rulingby the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit to temporarily block the provisions because they unconstitutionally conflicted with federal immigration law.
Three separate lawsuits challenging HB 56 were filed shortly after the law passed. In addition to the challenge by the federal government, a group of church leaders filed suit as well as a coalition of civil rights groups, called the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama, represented by the National Immigration Law Center, American Civil Liberties Union, Southern Poverty Law Center, and Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund.
Media Resources: US Department of Justice 11/25/13; National Immigration Law Center 10/29/13; AL.com 11/25/13 Feminist Newswire 6/9/11